Quest Out West: Wild Food, documenting Syilx storyteller Tracey Kim Bonneau’s search for a truly healthy meal, returns for a second season on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network this week.
Bonneau, a member of the Penticton Indian Band, writes, produces and stars in the series, which combines her love of good food with telling the story of traditional foods, practices and the people that prepare them.
“I get to hear the stories and the history from people here in the Okanagan,” said Bonneau, explaining how in one show, she went to the Similkameen to interview an elder, in his waning years, but still willing to teach her about — and demonstrate — underground pit cooking.
Another elder showed her some of her techniques for keeping fit: one of them is tanning hides.
“What I am happy about is those people and their stories, are not going to be forgotten,” said Bonneau, who said storytelling came to her naturally, growing up in a family of them.
“I grew up around the kitchen table here at the ranch. Our longest days, we would sit around the table with my grandmother and there would be a big pot of oatmeal, and a big pot of Red Rose tea and some beautiful bread and of course, some venison,” said Bonneau. But what she loved most was the long, elaborate stories told by her aunties and uncles.
Making documentaries and using technology came early too. At powwows, she would borrow the tape recorder her mom used to record bone game songs. I used to take the recorder and
“I would go around — I was eight or nine years old — and I would interview people at the bone games,” she said. “I was creating my little documentaries at the powwow a long time ago, because I just wanted to hear people’s stories.”
But putting together a show like Quest Out West takes more than a single person.
“I can’t pull it off unless I have people around me that believe in the overall vision. It is really the team around you that helped this come alive,” she said, explaining how she made every member of the crew feel they had a part of that vision. “You create a family.”
The series is set in the beauty of Okanagan’s outdoors and nature’s wild food gardens. Bonneau says this series starts with the Okanagan Indian Band in Vernon, with filming at O’Keefe Ranch, before travelling through the territory — and a side trip to the coast for a visit to the Nuu-chah-nulth territory.
Local places featured this season include the Grist Mill, Pure Similkameen Valley Honey, Twisted Hills Craft Cider, the Ashnola powwow campsite, ECOmmunity Place at the Penticton Indian Band and Summerhill Pyramid Winery.
For viewers, it’s a visual feast of thirteen more delicious stories shared by foodie elders, historians and organic wineries and growers. They break bread over stress-free, gorgeous, simply prepared healthy meals.
Guests include Duane Howard from the film Revenant; and local actor Mariel Belanger from the Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
In Western Canada viewers will be able to watch the show on APTN, on either the West (SD) or HD feed. The show will be on at 7:30 pm Pacific time in B.C. and at 8:30 p.m. mountain time in Alberta. The series will be aired across Canada, so viewers of APTN will be able to watch this time slot in their respective time zones.