The Ones Who Call 2011
The Qu'Appelle Valley has always had a slightly sinister reputation for such a peaceful place in Southern Saskatchewan. Long ago, the Cree people of the area called it kab-tep-was, or “Who Calls”, after the strange voices that would call out to travellers who passed through the valley. Legend spoke of a race of water spirits who lived in the valley and needed to be appeased by generous offerings, lest they guide the unwary into a watery grave.
But times changed, both for the Cree and for the spirits of the valley. Roads and towns were built, and the Native people living on the Cowessess reservation no longer remembered the old stories told about the neighbouring waterways. But though the waters were silent, the water spirits had not left the valley.
Generations ago, the water spirits were cursed by a powerful medicine man, and could no longer survive outside their valley home. And so, when the missionaries first came to the Qu'Appelle valley, they donned human guises and hid themselves among the Cree.
Now, several generations later, the Sîpisis family have to come to terms with their peculiar family history, and with the curse that is making their lives in the modern age increasingly difficult. To make matters worse, their youngest daughter Jenny has come of age and must be brought into the secret, and often dangerous, double-life that all the descendants of the water spirits must live. Will she accept her role as one of The Ones Who Call, or will she become just another silent voice by the lakeside?
01 - Grounded - The Sīpisis family gathers to inform their 15 year-old daughter Jenny that she will never be able to leave the reserve. Through the retelling of an old legend, we learn why the family is cursed and how the valley came to be the home and prison to a tribe of dangerous Water Spirits.
02 - The Big City - Against her family’s advice, Jenny sneaks into the big city of Regina to attend a rock concert. She quickly discovers that the ancient curse her family is afflicted with is far deadlier than she'd anticipated, and has to fight for her life to return to the reserve before it is too late.
03 - Coyote Dancing - Jenny’s older brother Fox, a jovial but unpredictable wanderer, comes by the family home to cheer up his little sister. He takes her to the quiet hidden places of the valley to teach her that life by the river isn’t all bad, but things get out of hand when Coyote tricks him into a dance off. It’s up to Jenny to get her big brother out of trouble.
04 - The Lake That Whispers - Kyle Pawluk is dragged away from his home in the big city to the shores of the Qu'Appelle valley after his parents' messy divorce. While seeking solace and comfort in the waters of the lake, he is lured into the dangerous world of the Ones Who Call. Jenny must struggle to keep him from discovering her secret while still keeping him safe from her malicious cousin.
05 - Some Things Run Deep - Jenny and Kyle have found comfort and a measure of peace in their new relationship, but there are those who don't want to see the two together. In the ancient Qu'Appelle valley, things darker than simple racism lurk in the depths of the lake, and a romance between one of the water spirits and a man from outside has caught their attention.
06 - Kohkum Knows Best - Kohkum Agnes has disappeared and the entire Sīpisis family has gathered to search for her. Meanwhile, the other residents of the valley have noticed strange lights above the lake. Is it Kohkum's doing, or is something more sinister going on?
07 - Falling Leaves and Failing Hopes - The gas station is in desperate need of upgrading, but the family doesn't have the money to afford it. Jenny's mother Noreen gets a second job working for a man she feared as a child in order to cover expenses, but her boss hides family secrets that threaten them both.
08 - The Wind Like a Knife's Edge - A freak blizzard catches Jenny and Kyle off guard and causes their truck to crash. Injured and scared, the two teenagers do not realize that the storm has been brought about by malevolent entities who hate and fear the Ones Who Call. When Jenny confronts them, she is given a terrible choice - her life, or Kyle's.
09 - A Frozen Hunger - The Qu'Apelle valley is locked in the grasp of a fierce winter storm, trapping residents in their homes. The Sīpisis family struggle to be gracious hosts to their two unexpected guests - one, Mrs. Pawluk, Kyle's mother and a local schoolteacher, and the other, a mysterious stranger with a deadly appetite.
10 - A Great Feast - A feast is held on the reserve to remember Edith, Kohkum Agnes' late sister. However, whenever a family as big and mischievous as the Sīpisis' gets together, there is sure to be no end of trouble! Can they honor their auntie’s memory with dignity, or is chaos a far finer tribute to the best trickster of her generation?
11 - In Winter's Grasp - February is always the deepest part of winter, but this winter is the fiercest in memory due to the continued animosity of the Ice Spirits, the Sīpisis family's distant relatives. In the dark, cold grasp of winter, relationships are strained to the breaking point, and the Ice Spirits play a deadly game with Jenny and Kyle's lives as the prize.
12 - As Long as the River Flows - The loss of a family member brings the Sipisis family together to mourn, and during the process, Jenny's love for the valley is rekindled. Life may not be easy for The Ones Who Call, but as long as the rivers flow and the sun shines, their family will always endure.
World image by Tara Willett, Copyright 2011