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By Rhonda Spivak, January 4, 2011

Noah Erenberg, a graduate of Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate Class of 1982,  has directed and also written substantial parts of  a new documentary series   One With Nature that will be airing on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network [APTN] in north America and Visasat in Europe. [the times of the airing of the series are provided further on in this article] 

“The series examines the use of traditional knowledge in the modern world.  Each episode features a particular First Nation in Canada and explores how Band Members incorporate age-old wisdom that's been utilized in their community for thousands of years in order to confront the present day challenges they are facing,” says Erenberg.

“I am just now finishing up the final episode of One With Nature,” he adds. 

Erenberg, who teaching workshops in video storytelling and editing at various Winnipeg schools (grades 1 to 12), is  currently writing, directing and producing a documentary on the advent of alternative fuels which will air on MTS TV in the fall of 2011. 

The  One With Nature series is a co-production between two Winnipeg based production companies, Les Productions Rivard [LPR] and Media RendezVous [MRV] The producers are Charles Lavack, Louis Paquin and Genevieve Pelletier from [LPR ] and Charles Clement from MRV.

“ My company, Flat Out Pictures Inc. has been subcontracted by LPR and MRV to write, direct and supervise direct,” Erenberg told the Winnipeg Jewish review, noting that the team started its “pre-production” in the spring of 2009. 

‘There are twelve episodes featuring First Nations from across Canada.  I wrote and direct seven of the episodes and was the supervising director for all twelve,” he added.

“The idea was a response to APTN's requests for an environmental series, and Charles Clement of Media RendezVous came up with the series after speaking to several contacts including those at the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources,” Erenberg explained.

The series begins Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm Central Standard Time and then again on Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 12:30 pm (CST).  It is also aired on Saturdays at 5:30 pm (CST) starting Saturday, January 15, 2011 and on Sundays at 5:00 pm (CST) starting Sunday, March 13, 2011.

The series will continue airing from January to May 2011 in these same time slots:

Wednesdays at 9:00 pm (CST)
Thursdays at 12:30 pm (CST)
Saturdays at 5:30 pm (CST)
Sundays at 5:00 pm (CST)

(check your local listings for the areas in which you live as the times may be different depending upon where you are tuning in)

Episode four of the twelve episodes is from the Mi'kmaq community of L'sitkuk at Bear River First Nation in Nova Scotia, which emphasizes the community’s collective  as opposed to profit-driven  approach. 

Here is an edited version of the synopsis of this episode provided by Erenberg to the Winnipeg Jewish Review:

This episode explores how the unique Mi'kmaq community of L'sitkuk at Bear River First Nation in Nova Scotia have thrived by going against the grain. Rejecting the profit-driven corporate model, they've opted instead to embrace the age-old Mi'kmaq ideal of community-based development.  It's a bold effort that's not only proven successful for them, but may show the world how to achieve a more sustainable future.  For the people of Bear River First Nation, the traditional knowledge they are using today is gleaned from the diversity and balance that one discovers by walking through the ancient forest in which they live.  Using the natural teachings of the forest as their guide, the L'sitkuk community at Bear River takes a collective approach to just about everything.  It's a philosophy embodied in the Mi'kmaq tradition called Netukulimk – a concept that encourages sustainable community building.  Inherent in this belief is the fundamental principle of respect, whereby you don't take any more than you need while making sure you have enough for your people today and for the next seven generations.  This communal approach to the harvesting and managing of their natural resources is what sets Bear River First Nation apart from other communities.  It's a model that is all about subsistence, small scale livelihoods and food security as opposed to one that is large-scale, corporate and profit-driven. 

Practicing Netulmik hasn't been easy for Bear River First Nation especially over the past two decades.   It was during this time when Mi'kmaq communities fought and won an historic battle that gave them the right to fish commercially.  Eventually, an agreement would be made that gave Mi'kmaq Nations money to buy into large-scale, multi-national commercial fisheries, which thirty-four communities did.  Bear River, however, did not; refusing to participate in the commercialization of any harvesting or in what they see as an approach that is driven by greed and is therefore dangerously depleting the resource.  By emulating the diverse and balanced nature of the forest, the L'sitkuk community at Bear River First Nation weighs every decision by thinking of community first and by choosing the most productive and healthy ways to sustain their environment and their people.  Taking this kind of alternative route, Bear River is able to maintain traditional Mi'kmaq activities, such as artistic and creative endeavors, and preserve them and the knowledge and values imbued in them, for generations to come.  

… Far from being an idyllic, pollyanna way of thinking, the traditional, community-based approach to harvesting resources and building sustainable communities is more frequently being lauded as the most responsible path to take on a planet dangerously careening out of control.  As in all the episodes of this series, the goal is to give viewers a taste of what it means to be one with nature and to show how ancient knowledge is being used in the present day to create a healthy and sustainable world.”

Episode three of the series focuses on the Innu Nation community at Sheshatshiu, Labrador.  Here is an shortened synopsis of it:

“This episode of One With Nature explores how the Innu Nation of Labrador has managed to gain unprecedented control over environmental management and monitoring of any development on their vast territory.  They have done this by creating their own environmental protection agency in the form of the Innu Environment Office from where environmental watchdogs are deployed to act as guardians enforcing environmental laws across the Innu homeland, a vast expanse of northeastern Canada and one of the largest, untouched indigenous territories in the world.  The Innu have thrived here for thousands of years, doing what has always defined them as a people – living on the land.  But, this way of life has been threatened.  Relocation of the Innu in 1967 to Davis Inlet and then later to Netwashish and Sheshatshiu along with developments across Labrador, have disrupted the people and wildlife.  It's what prompted the Innu to finally gain the means to defend themselves and their territory.  In 1993, they created their own Environmental Protection Agency based in Sheshatshiu which employs Innu Guardians to enforce environmental laws on their lands.  By using high-tech monitoring tools and investigative techniques combined with a deep understanding of the land and of traditional knowledge, the Innu effectively control and monitor all developments

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.