In the Vuntut National Park area of the Yukon, people journeying over land often do so by skidoo — a vehicle as essential to travel today as sled dogs have been for centuries. Vuntut’s Gwitchin community has long outfitted its sled dogs with beautifully embroidered blankets that speak to the value of people’s relationships with the dogs, the caribou they harvest together and the land itself.
In Being Skidoo, artist Jeneen Frei Njootli explores these relationships and the practice and aesthetics of reciprocity within the Gwitchin community of Old Crow – youth at Old Crow’s Chief Zzeh Gittlit School create embroidery, beadwork and textile arts. After researching dog blankets in her community, the artists will adapt the blankets to fit skidoos, creating a regalia for the vehicles, that acknowledges them, like sled dogs are honoured, as tools and partners in travel. With their regalia, the skidoos along with the artists, guides and a camera crew will journey into Vuntut (cooperatively managed with the Vuntut First Nation). The film Being Skidoo offers a look at our intimate and connected relationships with the North: the elements, the land, its animals and one another.
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