Children of the Setting Sun Productions started as a Lummi song and dance troupe, formed by Frank Hillaire. Before his passing, he instructed his descendants to “keep my fires burning,” and today Children of the Setting Sun continues under Executive Director Darrell Hillaire as a production company with all kinds of different projects. While the types of projects are different, the goal remains the same: to “tell our stories from our perspective and to create community.”
With Darrell, Children of the Setting Sun started with stage productions, often performed in coffee shops or similar venues. Today they are working on books, movies, plays, podcasts, all projects that continue to gather people and help us to better understand each other.
Earlier this spring, “Jesintel: Living Wisdom from Coast Salish Elders” was released, a narrative anthology of interviews, stories, and photographs of Coast Salish elders. This new book was about six years in the making and offers elders’ perspectives on various traditions as well as their stories. Launch events were held at the University of Washington and Village Books, where folks came together to celebrate the generosity of these tribal elders.
The Salmon People Project focuses on stories about the importance of salmon from the Indigenous perspective and is an ongoing project. The project started in 2018 with the filming of fishermen here in the Bellingham area. Since then, the project has expanded to include salmon peoples up and down the pacific coast. Children of the Setting Sun continue to collect stories of the bond between salmon and Indigenous people, as well as the importance of making serious change to help with the restoration of salmon and climate justice as a whole.
Children of the Setting Sun also produces the nationally recognized podcast “Young and Indigenous.” This project
is led by Indigenous youth and is a way for Children of the Setting Sun to start passing the torch to future generations. Currently in their second season, this podcast is a platform for them to express opinions, voice ideas, and of course, share stories with a broad audience. While the focus is on Indigenous voices and stories, this podcast is for everyone. They release about two episodes a month and recently their episodes have been focused on mental health.
The team at Children of the Setting Sun are always working on new projects, attending gatherings like canoe journeys, and collecting and sharing stories wherever they go. This year they would like to hold a larger Indigenous Peoples Day gathering in October. The hope is to share songs, art, food, and history, to celebrate with other Indigenous groups as well, and to share all these things with folks who may not know much about our peoples.
You can learn more about Children of the Setting Sun and follow their projects @childrenssp on social media.