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‘Tzouhalem’ tells story of chief’s rise, fall and legacy

Ladysmith Secondary’s land and language class hosts screening
The star of the documentary-drama film Tzouhalem, Harold Joe, left, and the film’s narrator, Isaiah Harris, were at Ladysmith Secondary School on Saturday, May 28, for a showing of the film presented by the school’s land and language program. (Duck Paterson photo)


The recently released documentary-drama film, Tzouhalem, was featured last week at Ladysmith Secondary School.

As part of the land and language program at the school, a free community viewing of the film was held Saturday, May 28.

The film, narrated by recent LSS graduate Isaiah Harris, tells of the legend of Cowichan Chief Tzouhalem and recounts his life, the mythical tales surrounding him, the impact on the modern relationship between First Nations and other governments, and how the tales remain talked about even now. The film, written by Cowichan Tribes actor Harold Joe, who also starred as Tzouhalem in the film, attracted an audience of more than 100 to the school.

Tzouhalem was shown in the school’s theatre room. It was believed that Tzouhalem, a disabled Indigenous boy, through his powerful character and supreme powers taught to him by his grandmother, beat down his enemies and transformed himself into the most powerful First Nations leader on the coast. The death of Tzouhalem was brought about by his own doing, but his feats of protecting his people and territory are remembered to this day.

Following the showing of the film, Joe, Harris, and director Leslie Bland went on stage to answer questions about the film and Chief Tzouhalem.

Bland and Joe told the audience that there are more episodes of Indigenous stories and history that they hope to get out to the general public.

Harris told how it was his ambition to continue to move forward as a script writer and author. He presently is working for the City of Duncan doing narration work for a project for their museum.

The film screening at LSS featured traditional First Nations food such as stew, seafood chowder and fry-bread, with ingredients donated by Save-On-Foods, Bouma Meats and members of the Stz’uminus community. The school’s culinary class did the meal preparation and were assisted in serving by principal Dave Travers, vice-principal Laura Harrison as well as volunteers from Ladysmith Family and Friends.

READ ALSO: ‘Tzouhalem’ will tell history and legend at Ladysmith screening

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