Dorothy Christian Cucw-la7 is a visual storyteller, scholar, writer and
editor who is from Splatsin, one of the communities of the Secwepemc
Nation. She honours her Syilx ancestry. Christian’s graduate studies focus
on how cultural knowledge informs Indigenous film production practices.
Her PhD dissertation Gathering Knowledge: Indigenous Methodologies of
Land/Place-Based Visual Storytelling/ Filmmaking and Visual Sovereignty
(2017) links land, story, language and cultural protocols. And her MA
thesis A Cinema of Sovereignty”: Working in the Cultural Interface to
Create a Model for Fourth World Film and Pre-production and Aesthetics
(2010) created a theoretical framework for Indigenous film production
Before graduate school, Dorothy segment produced, directed and wrote for
the national broadcaster Vision TV where she accumulated over 100
professional production credits. She travelled throughout Turtle Island
and into Mexico to carry Indigenous stories back to the Canadian screen
culture. Other related areas where Dorothy has served: Board member and
Chair of the Ontario Film Review Board (commercial distribution); Initial
Organizer for “Beyond Survival: The Waking Dreamer Ends The Silence”, an
interdisciplinary gathering of international Indigenous artists; Executive
Director, Film Festival Director and Office Manager of Indigenous Media
Arts Group (non-profit).
Cucw-la7 continues to be involved in the Indigenous Screen Culture in
Canada. Dorothy is a Board Member of the Indigenous Screen Office that is
located on the lands of the Dish With One Spoon Treaty (Toronto, Ontario).
She curated programs for the 2018 and 2019 ImagineNative Film Festivals
that reflected “Voices from the Western Regions of Turtle Island” and
honoured the work of Hopi filmmaker Victor Masayesva, Jr. by programming a
retrospective of his work.
Publications include: “Talking In/Talking Out”: Indigenous Knowledge,
Filmmaking, and the (De)colonizing Poetics of Visual Sovereignty – A
Conversation With Dr. Dorothy Christian” in Special Issue: The
(De)colonial Pedagogical Possibilities of Film and Film Festivals”. Guest
edited by Sonia Medel and Andre’ Elias Mazawi. Postcolonial Directions in
Education, Vol. 8, Issue 2, 2019.; “Indigenous Visual storywork for
Indigenous Film Aesthetics” in Decolonizing Research: Indigenous Storywork
as Methodology (2019), J. Archibald, J. Lee-Morgan & J. DeSantolo
(editors); Co-editor of Downstream: Reimagining Water (2017); co-authored
Chapter “Unmapping Watershed Mind” in Thinking With Water (2013); Chapter
“Reconciling With the People and the Land” in Cultivating Canada:
Reconciliation Through the Lens of Cultural Diversity (2011); Co-authored
chapter “History of a Friendship” in Alliances: Re/Envisioning Indigenous
and non-Indigenous Relationships (2010).
Dorothy is currently the Associate Director, Indigenous Initiatives at
Simon Fraser University and resides on the unceded lands of her Coast
Salish cousins, on what is geo-politically known as Vancouver, BC, Canada.
She serves on the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Advisory at SFU.
In 2020/2021 academic year, Christian is facilitating webinars through the
Centre for Educational Excellence that focus on “The Many Facets of
Decolonizing and Indigenizing the Academy”.