Ramsay (left) and Michael (right) Bourquin are beginning their career in film through APTN’s Samaqan series

Brothers bring films to Hazelton

The Bourquin brothers, Michael and Ramsay, brought a project they both worked on, Samaqan: Water Stories, to Hazelton.

The Bourquin brothers, Michael and Ramsay, brought  a project they both worked on, Samaqan: Water Stories, to Hazelton.

Samaqan is a series set to begin its third season on APTN which focuses on sharing how water is the binding element for everyone on the planet.

The brothers were born in Hazelton and raised in Iskut, which is now one of the fastest growing towns in the northwest due to mining activity.

The first Samaqan episode Michael narrated was back in their home territory, near the Sacred Headwaters, following his grandfather Loveman Nole as the latter described his many moose hunting escapades.

“He told me that the Sacred Headwaters would be the worst place to develop because of the rivers that are born here,” Michael said.

The second episode, had footage shot by Ramsay, showing a moose  getting skinned, packed and jarred.

“A big part of why doing these projects is so rewarding is we had the opportunity to learn from and be with our elders,” Ramsay said.

“I don’t see too many youths working in mining in our home doing that skinning when they have time  off.”

The brothers began their relationship with film after their father, Jim Bourquin, wanted to ensure the first blockade of Shell’s coal-bed methane project was recorded.

“We were there and had a small handheld camera,” Michael said.

“Monty Bassett was there and he was giving us pointers on how to frame shots and what the best angle would be.

The Samaqan series became a perfect match for the Bourquin brothers.

“We get our environmental side from our dad,” Michael said.

“He was always standing up against industry.

“He received death threats from some Tahltan people for his stance.

“We got the only footage of the blockade, as far as I know.”

The second set of Samaqan episodes centred around the proposed Taseko Prosperity gold and copper mine west of Williams Lake.

The Samaqan crew filmed an annual meeting of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation on Fish Lake, which is the lake where a tailings pond was originally planned.

Since filming the episode the Prosperity project changed their plans, but were again turned down by a federal panel due to incomplete environmental impact project information.

“Prosperity (mine) would destroy our people and way of life,” Marilyn Baptiste, Xeni Gwet’in chief, said.

The second part of the Chilcotin (Xeni Gwet’in) showed a father and son using a traditional gaffing method to fish.

Joe Alphonse, chair of the Tsilhqot’in National Government, wonders why Taseko wants to put fish and wildlife in the area at risk for a few dollars.

“The copper and gold has been there all along,” Alphonse said.

“As far as we’re concerned that’s our bank.

“If the technology becomes available where we can get the copper and gold without contaminating the environment we’ll do it.”

The final segment shown in Hazelton involved Hartley Bay and Haisla opposition to the proposed Enbridge bitumen pipeline.

Season three of Samaqan begins this fall on APTN and shooting for the fourth season begins approximately the same time.


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