When it comes keeping traditions and language alive and healthy, exposing people to these things through art and culture is a great way to do it.
And if that exposure can come at an early age, it means even more!
That's why it is really exciting to hear that a new kids' show is coming to Canada that will celebrate Indigenous teachings and perspectives. Called CHUMS, this animated show is for young kids, aged 3 to 6.
It will follow a girl named Flies With Eagles as she goes on adventures with a group of animals. And along the way, they will spend each episode helping—and learning about—another animal that is significant to Indigenous teachings.
Dennis and Eric Jackson are the creators of CHUMS. They are a father and son team from Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. The voice cast of the show is also all-Indigenous. Even better, the show will feature Cree and Ojibwe languages alongside English. This is a huge win, as the best time to teach any language is during childhood.
Dennis is no stranger to kids programs either—between 2005 and 2011, he made 32 episodes and a full-length movie called Wapos Bay, a show about three Cree friends. Now he's bringing his talents to an even younger age group and he's working with his son as he does it. Cool!
Speaking of his son, Eric is also thinking about his own kids as he makes CHUMS. In an interview with CBC, he said, "My grandma was a residential school survivor and after that there was definitely that gap between embracing the culture and reclaiming it. I do [this show] for my kids; I do it for all of the kids out there who want representation."
CHUMS is in production now. It will be airing on APTN, CityTV Saskatchewan, and APTN's streaming service Lumi sometime in later 2023 or early 2024.