An award-winning short film cataloguing the journey from addiction and trauma to tradition and healing for an Okotoks-born Indigenous man is now available on TELUS Optik and the TELUS originals YouTube channel.
Piita Aapasskaan (pronounced bee·daa bee·sats·bee), The Kyle Young Pine Story tells the story of Kyle Young Pine (Blackfoot name Piita Aapasskaan) from the Kainai First Nations Blood Tribe.
A graduate of Holy Trinity Academy, Young Pine struggled with addiction for many years after first trying oxycodone in Grade 9. In October, he celebrated nine years of sobriety.
Skateboarding became his escape from his own substance use and a troubled home life, the result of pervasive generational trauma, he said.
Eventually, Young Pine made the decision to reconnect with his roots, something he said he struggled with being one of the only non-white students in Okotoks in the 1990s and early 2000s. Before he could do that, he wanted to be sober.
So, while using skateboarding to heal, he ventured into the world of Fancy Feather Dancing.
Piita Aapasskaan shows the parallels between skateboarding and Fancy Dancing.
He said the story intends to inspire others to be their best self.
"Let’s just say someone is going through something in their own personal battles and if they were to just stumble across [the film] and it be of use to them and a way for them to embrace anything they might be going through; if it’s going to make a positive impact for them, to maybe help them speak a little louder for themselves, that would be the message," said Young Pine.
He now owns a plumbing and gas fitting business, works as a recovery coach at Recovery Coaches Alberta and is a devoted father to his son Phoenix.
Young Pine also travels to dance at events and present his story. He even paid a visit to St. Francis of Assisi for Truth and Reconciliation Day last September to teach students about the trauma of residential schools and his path to healing.
"I try to position myself to be of service to others," he said.
The film is available to view on TELUS Optik channel 8 and for free on the TELUS originals YouTube channel.