A Vancouver-based global entertainment company received honours from the Sts’ailes First Nation in a recent name acknowledgement ceremony.
Representatives from Thunderbird Entertainment, Sts’ailes and the neighbouring Sq’ewlets First Nation gathered at Lhawathet Lalem Conference Center in the Harrison Mills area to acknowledge and celebrate the use of the thunderbird’s name. Sts’ailes acknowledged Thunderbird Entertainment’s “exemplary stewardship of the name that is steeped in Indigenous heritage,” celebrating it as an act of reconciliation.
Sts’ailes Coun. Kelsey Charlie, Sr. was the master of ceremonies.
“In the spirit of reconciliation Sts’ailes would like to acknowledge Thunderbird for reaching out and acknowledging Indigenous peoples and the unceded territories on which they work,” Charlie said. “This celebration will hopefully set a positive precedent in working with First Nations’ communities and people; the event was a great day.”
The thunderbird is a revered entity in northwest Indigenous lore. It is said to be a massive bird responsible for thunder and lightning, sustaining itself by hunting whales.
Other speakers included Sq’ewlets Chief Johnny Williams, Sts’ailes Elder Harold Joe and Sts’ailes CAO Willie Charlie. The ceremony included traditional songs, a customary gift exchange and performances by the Sasquatch Dance Group.
Thunderbird CEO Jennifer Twiner McCarron expressed her pride in working with the Sts’ailes community and the honour of the name acknowledgement.
“We will continue to work hard at honouring the Thunderbird name and heritage, through creating stories that authentically represent our world with strong messages and a tangible business partnership on our productions working together,” she stated.
One of Thunderbird Entertainment’s more prominent works is “Molly of Denali,” a PBS Kids show that follows a 10-year-old Indigenous Alaskan girl on her daily adventures with her friends and her dog, Suki. “Deadman’s Curse,” a reality show following four treasure hunters and truth seekers, including Seabird Island’s Don Froese and Taylor Starr, also falls under the Thunderbird umbrella. “Kim’s Convenience,” “Highway Thru Hell” and “Dr. Savannah: Wild Rose Vet” are Thunderbird projects as well.
Thunderbird strives to hire cast and crew who authentically represent the shows they are creating, partnering with organizations like Film2Future, a non-profit organization that helps diverse teenagers from low-income households find their place in the entertainment field.