Last updated: 2 july, 2009 - 18:25 GMT

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Alert Bay - My Life So Far was created from recordings gathered by five young people from Alert Bay, a remote island off the west coast of Canada.

Jacqueline Matilipi

Jacqueline is one of the young Alert Bay reporters

The young people, aged 11 to 17, were trained by two producers from the Canadian Broadcating Corporation. The producers lent them recording equipment and gave them a simple task: 'Tell us about where you live. Tell us about your life.'

Like most people who grow up in a small community, Alert Bay's youth is torn between staying and venturing into the bigger world.

Native culture

What is unique about their story is the struggle to keep their culture alive. Alert Bay is the home of the Namgis First Nation. At one time it was Canadian government policy to assimilate its aboriginal people, and suppress their language and culture.

St Michael's Indian Residential School, now derelict, serves as a painful reminder of the past, as do the stories of the community's elders.

This documentary will weave together stories about youth who have everything in common with the ordinary Canadian teen, and in some respects, very little.

Alert Bay - My Life So Far is part of Global Perspective, a documentary series on BBC World Service in which six documentary makers from around the world contribute a programme, giving a local perspective on a shared chosen theme. This year the theme is Islands.

The young Alert Bay reporters are Alvin Stevens, Jacqueline Matilpi, Gloria Hunt, Mariah Smith, and Kari Ann Stauffer.

First broadcast 3 July 2009


Global Perspective 2009

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