As if Nick Printup needed something more on his to-do list.
Her daughter was born a month ago, has just started a new job in the federal government and on Friday graduated from the media and communications studies program at Brock University.
Also, two weeks ago she found out she was the winner of the Share Your Roots national video contest, which means she’ll have to find time this summer to put together a brief presentation of virtual reality cultural experience.
“This year has been a crazy year,” Welland’s man said with a laugh.
The video project is, however, close to his heart and culture.
Share Your Roots was a contest started by ORIGIN, a company based on indigenous proprietary technology, as well as by Uber and the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business. ORIGIN created ImmersiveLink, which uses virtual reality technology to build a culture and career-based library for Indigenous youth across Canada.
They wear Oculus headphones that provide a 360-degree virtual reality experience, demonstrating different careers or cultural events.
It allows them to literally imagine themselves in a particular job or trade, something Printup, who is indigenous, said is often difficult for indigenous youth with limited opportunities.
From across Canada, he and three more winners were selected. Each will lead and plan their project and will be assigned a crew and funding to create short virtual reality videos, worth about $ 35,000 each, based on indigenous culture.
Others will address topics such as nature and the ecosystem, the skill and tradition of hunting and tanning skins, and canoeing.
Lacrosse print thing.
“The Haudenosaunee people, the Iroquois of this community, created lacrosse. We believe that the Creator, the Great Spirit, gave us a lacrosse to play, ”he said.
People say hockey is like a religion in Canada, but it has nothing to do with lacrosse.
Most people don’t know it, and not hockey, it’s Canada’s national sport.
Or that lacrosse hasn’t always been played just for fun. Among the natives, it was also used to establish disputes and wars, sometimes using rocks instead of a ball.
“That’s something I included in my release” to enter the contest, he said.
“If you were born a man in the culture of Haudenosaunee, from birth you are given a very small, child-sized lacrosse stick that will last you a lifetime.
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“This stick gets bigger and you make others that make you a lifetime, but it’s part of our culture to give it away to the boys who are born into your family.”
Lacrosse, he said, is something that can connect cultures and backgrounds.
With his virtual reality video, which will eventually be shared with indigenous and non-indigenous groups, “I want to educate people and I think lacrosse is the perfect sport to do that.”
His video will be very heavy on Niagara locations and content, and he wants to draw strength from the indigenous community.
A childhood injury prevented him from playing competitive lacrosse, but he has many friends and family who do.
Printup is already an award-winning filmmaker, author and entrepreneur with an extensive educational curriculum.
Prior to Brock, he graduated from Niagara College with a degree in welding, an advanced degree in broadcasting production, a graduate degree in international business management, and now a bachelor’s degree in media and communications.
He has won numerous awards, including this year being one of Brock’s ten students to receive the President Surgite Award, which recognizes leadership, community involvement, and academic achievement.
But, he admits, virtual reality technology is still “a bit vague for me” and will be a learning experience.
“I have a bit of experience with this through games, so my focus was if I want something to be engaging and interactive, to be cultural, it would be a crisis,” he said.
“This would be a great way to engage indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.”