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Edith Josie, the well-known Gwich’in reporter from Old Crow in the northernmost part of Yukon, is the unforgettable subject of the movie “Here Are the News,” which played at DOXA (Vancouver’s own documentary film festival) yesterday. In 1963 Edith started writing the news from Old Crow for the Whitehorse Star and the column was so successful that it went into syndication which for Edith meant that she used a couple of pieces of carbon paper between sheets of foolscap when she handwrote her columns. I remember hearing Edith's regular reports to Peter Gzowski on “This Country in the Morning” (even that small amount of exposure left an impression on me) but the movie made me realize how important she was to both her community and the preservation of her language and traditional ways. Edith is an engaging, smart person with an infectious sense of humour and an infectious laugh that ripples through her whole body and if that’s not enough to express her feelings, she’ll break into dance.
Edith couldn't make it to the festival (she’s recovering from hip replacement surgery) but in a Q&A session after the screening, Cathleen Smith, the director and Edith’s close friend told us more funny stories about Edith and said that Edith had requested that we write to her with our comments on the film. From the number of people who scrambled for a scrap of paper when she gave out the address, I think Edith’s mailbox will be full for the next few weeks.
The address is: Edith Josie Old Crow Yukon, Y0B 1N0. You can read some of Edith’s columns in Best of Edith Josie, Here Are the News 1963-1964, available at YukonBooks.com. Now I’ve got to go dig up an envelope and a stamp . . .