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A Conversation With Filmmaker and Activist Tracy Rector

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A Conversation With Filmmaker and Activist Tracy Rector

Tracy Rector discusses co-directing her REEL NW film Maiden of Deception Pass.

September 29, 2016

Watch the interview on PBS player.

Editor’s Note: Watch the film“Maiden of Deception Pass: Guardian of Her Samish People” online now. 

Tracy Rector’s short documentary Maiden of Deception Pass: Guardian of Her Samish People is about the history behind the Samish welcoming pole located on Rosario Beach at Deception Pass.  In this interview, hosted by director Megan Griffiths, Rector discusses co-directing the film, which is streaming now on REEL NW.

Tracy Rector, Co-director of MAIDEN OF DECEPTION PASS.

“It’s not a creation story per se,” Rector tells Griffiths, “but it’s a historical, oral tradition, passing-on-of-knowledge story about a maiden who sacrificed for her people by marrying the ogre under the sea who threatened to take away the seafood from the village unless she married him.”


All of my work is centered in indigenous story; for, by and about indigenous people.


Rector is an indigenous activist and a prolific filmmaker. She is also the recipient of the 2016 Stranger Genius Award in Film. Speaking about her start in filmmaking, she says: “I am a completely DIY filmmaker, and I was actually studying to be a traditional medicine person down at the Skokomish Reservation. I was working for Bruce Miller, and Katie Jennings came to do a story about him and he said, ‘Our people need to tell their own stories.’” Miller advised Rector to work with Jennings and that collaboration launched Rector’s career in filmmaking.  

Rector’s work focuses primarily on indigenous peoples’ stories. “When the Samish Nation came to us to ask if we were interested in telling this story, it was a huge honor, first off, but in accepting the opportunity it also became a huge responsibility,” says Rector. “For me as an activist and a filmmaker, it was really about honoring this community.”

Watch full interview above.

Megan Griffiths in conversation with filmmaker Tracy Rector.




Laila Kazmi

@Lailakaz — Laila Kazmi is an award-winning senior producer and writer at KCTS 9. Her first love is discovering and telling stories of diverse people, places, and history. She has lived in Karachi, Bahrain, Chicago, and Seattle. Laila is the series producer for Borders & Heritage, which features stories of immigrant and refugee experience in the Pacific Northwest and for Reel NW, featuring independent films from and about the Pacific Northwest. She also produces stories for IN Close and produced for PIE. Laila's video stories have appeared on KCTS 9, PBS NewsHour Art Beat, World Channel at WGBH, and KPBS. Her articles have been published in PBS NewsHour Art Beat, The Seattle Times, Seattle PI, COLORLINES, and Pakistan's daily Dawn.

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