In The Media / In The News

"The water from the mountain is sacred. Things that grow around it make powerful medicine."

The forest is Sophie's drugstore
Terry Jacks' film follows native herbalist

by Michael Becker
North Shore News - Friday, September 28, 2001

   CANADIAN pop icon Terry Jacks brings his work as an environmentalist to film with The Warmth of Love, The Four Seasons of Sophie Thomas.

   Thomas is an 88-year-old member of the Frog Clan of the Saik'uz Nation. She lives at Stony Creek, about 95 kilometres west of Prince George. Her grandmother taught her about natural medicinal cures and stewardship of the land.

   We watch her gather the raw materials for the medicines she dispenses for free. Sap from balsam fir, taken from the eastside of the tree in the spring, is used as a lung medicine. The inner bark from the jack pine provides succulent and tasty nutrients while in the woods. Fungus from the birch tree is used to smoke cured moose hide. Poplar bark is used for cough medicine, to stop bleeding and rid the body of worms.

   "We are losing our spiritual values. Clear-cutting destroys everything, because everything in the forest depends on something else. People don't let the earth heal, they take everything," she says in the film.

Movies that matter
Vancouver filmmakers are making films that depict the human spirit.

by Stephen Hume
The Vancouver Sun - Saturday, December 9, 2000

   The Four Seasons of Sophie Thomas takes a less journalistic approach to the same general theme, opting instead for the more satisfying poetic visual language of symbol and metaphor. Filmed at Stoney Creek on the much-damaged Nechako River, it's the story of an 87-year-old Carrier elder and her profound knowledge of an ancient wisdom about the medicinal values of plants that too many of us see as either weeds or industrial feedstock.

   Orphaned in her first year, raised by a blind grandmother, mother to 15 children herself, Sophie is a repository of amazing knowledge, able to find food in a landscape that appears barren and to make powerful and effective medicines in a simple pot on her wood stove.

   Finding eggs in a grouse's camouflaged nest, describing how the edible inner bark of a Jack pine can save a lost hunter's life, or the fungus that best cures a moose hide, or extolling the curative qualities of balsam sap and the restorative powers of red mountain alder - Sophie takes us through a landscape of hidden miracles that is simultaneously being transformed into industrial wastelands.