Jacob’s dream is to empower young Indigenous people through video storytelling. His media production company, Arrow’s Journey Indigenous Initiative, will create a series of videos that inspire Native youth by telling the stories of other young, successful Native people. The online series will use digital and social media to share young and successful indigenous people’s experiences in achieving their lives’ ambitions.
“Each video will highlight an individual telling their story – delivered with authenticity and designed to uplift and motivate the audience in the own individual journeys to enrich their reserves/reservations,” says Jacob.
“The Arrow’s Journey Indigenous Initiative (TAJII) will also create an internship opportunity so youth can gain the tools and guidance needed to create media to fill the void of the Indigenous voice.”
Jacob reports that already television broadcast outlets including Utah Education Network TV and First Nations Experience TV have agreed to screen The Arrow’s Journey video content at the annual UEN Native American Film Festival and in state and national broadcasts.
Jacob’s Home and Community
“Danit’ada” (Hello) says Jacob, who spent his childhood living on a southern Alberta reserve in Canada learning the traditional Tsuut’ina way of life until his family moved to Utah.
“My father felt it was important for my siblings and I to remain connected to our cultural roots, so he started a drum group and we began traveling throughout the western states,” he said. “All of these efforts gave my siblings and I a sense of connectivity of who we were, and who we are.”
“Kindness, the spirit of giving and a richness of culture and traditional knowledge are the first thoughts I get [when thinking about growing up on the Tsuut’ina Reserve].
“Although relatively small (less than 2,500 members), the Tsuut’ina Nation sits between the city of Calgary and the slopes of the Rocky Mountains, primarily covered with vast plains and spruce trees, creating a picturesque landscape in rural Canada.”
What motivated Jacob to develop this dream?
“Throughout the years, I have discovered that there is insufficient application of entrepreneurship in my community and a lack of the necessary tools to see that our Nation is fully self-sustaining,” says Jacob. “Sharing my personal challenges on the reserve with fellow members has shown me the value of storytelling and has driven me to strengthen myself as a voice in my community to shape our negative statistics into positive outcomes.
“As people of resilience, and deep-rooted vitality, we have grounded ourselves in our traditions, culture and love of community to also celebrate our collective successes,” he continued. “We are never alone when we continuously build one another up to achieve the tasks that we as Tsuut’ina have set out to accomplish and have seen in just my lifetime change for the better.”
Jacob explained that Indigenous peoples consider an arrow to be a representative of life’s journey and much like a snowflake, every arrow is unique with none having traveled the save passage or having a mirrored outcome.
“Having seen my own community stricken with poverty, threatened to be stripped of its culture and traditional knowledge, and yet continuing to survive with the use of communal resilience and desire to work as a whole, my arrow’s journey has been set onto a path of empowering others by these experiences.”
The Dream as a Solution
TAJII will give a hands-on chance for youth to grow and develop through intern opportunities and gain experience with our potential partnerships, said Jacob.
“Entrepreneurship serves as a platform for initiatives in education, wellness, science, culture and art,” he explained. “Through this, solutions can become a reality for indigenous peoples to meet immediate needs such as clean water, all the while supporting opportunities for self-sufficiency and sovereignty.”
TAJII will serve as a platform, providing a means to share and connect with others, to uplift and motivate fellow community members in navigating through their own individual journeys to empower home reserves/reservations for a greater future.
“Whether youth are personally inspired to become educators, scientists, business owners or other, support and inspiration from all different walks of life empower our future members to succeed.”
The Potential Impact in the Future
Jacob has been working diligently on the framework and idea for TAJII for that past year, and with the awarding of his $10,000 Dreamstarter grant, he is now able to set that framework and idea into motion.
“All my effort has been with the plan to continue it for years to come,” he told us. “Once the grant is over, we will have a solid financial and quality foundation to build on.
“Our journey is just beginning and we have a lot to accomplish in the many years to come.”