A documentary film by Lana Šlezić
Bee Nation is a heart-warming and inspiring film that transcends stereotypes often associated with Canada’s First Nations people. It is set within the framework of the first-ever First Nations Provincial Spelling Bee in Canada. Out on the breathy landscapes of Saskatchewan Reserves, we meet students, parents and educators in the weeks leading up to the spelling bee. We go ice fishing on a school outing, we revel in a dance at a powwow, we see best friends study together and we hover in the excitement as the day draws nearer. We see the hardships our characters face but we also feel the love and support that exists within the family home. We are drawn in by the intimacy of family life on the reserve set against a backdrop of vast and beautiful landscapes. And as we spend time with the children who will compete, we find ourselves investing in them, cheering for them and wanting them to succeed.
And they do! They all do because it is not about the winning. It is about the journey, the facing of fears and the growth that results. Competition gives us the chance to succeed and the opportunity to fail. And when we are up on stage, whatever stage that may be in our lives, we are exposed. To be exposed is to be vulnerable and in vulnerability we are all the same. When those kids quiver up on stage, we quiver with them. When they thrive, we do as well. The fact that they are First Nations becomes irrelevant.
The future of our children is common ground we can all agree is paramount to a better world. Bee Nation explores that common ground in a First Nations context and asks us to shed our stereotypes in doing so.
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