I have some great news to start off 2016 – we (Peter Campbell of Gumboot Productions and I) are finalizing a collaboration with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) to produce a 20 minute educational film about Peter Bryce. Of course, I am thrilled about this; the primary reason I embarked on this journey to find Peter Bryce is to give my ancestor the recognition he deserves. Putting this kind of material in front of school children goes a long way to meeting that goal.
We plan to have this production ready by the end of March, and that means we have a busy few months ahead of us. We are still working on the full documentary and we need to complete one more principal shoot in the spring. I will be spending much of this winter organizing that shoot, and finding funds to complete the longer film as well as writing and producing the educational film.
This educational film caps off a tremendous year for us. In March, we attended and filmed the naming ceremony for the Waakebiness-Bryce Indigenous Health Institute at the University of Toronto. We followed that up with a week-long shoot in Ottawa where we filmed the unveiling of an historical plaque honouring Peter Bryce at Beechwood Cemetery, visited Peter Bryce’s home in Rockcliffe and interviewed a wide variety of people, including Ellie Kerr – a grand-daughter of Peter Bryce who is perhaps the only person alive who remembers him.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about Charlene Bearhead, one of the key figures in this initiative. We first met her at the unveiling ceremony at Beechwood. Charlene is the Education Lead at the NCTR and it is her job to collaborate with Ministries of Education, school authorities, and Universities. She also supports the work of educators across the country to ensure that the critical truth about the history of Indian Residential Schools and reconciliation education are being delivered in classrooms.. Charlene told us how excited she was about the documentary, and followed up that conversation with a meeting in the fall – and that’s when the educational film really began to take shape. Her advocacy and appreciation of the story of Peter Bryce has given us extra momentum going into 2016, which promises to be an important year in the journey to find Peter Bryce.