Salish Eye Productions: The Observer

Tricia Thomas is the proud owner of Salish Eye Productions a videography, photography, and design company based out of central Vancouver Island in Chemainus, British Columbia. She has an educational background in business, finance, human resources, project management, Aboriginal consulting, photography, filming, and technical communications.

With such a myriad of education, it could be easy to see how this company was born, but how is it Salish Eye Productions came to be?

“My company came to be because of my work as an indigenous consultant, working in the area of indigenous rights and titles.” Tricia said, “I worked with a lot of people that didn’t quite understand what indigenous rights and titles were, so I started to create movies, like documentaries, about First Nations people educating about indigenous rights and title.”

After working with First Nation peoples, Tricia learned she could be a vehicle for getting the message out about First Nation’s history and current unfolding events in First Nations cultures.

“All of the work that I do is being the voice and vision for people,” Tricia said. “I amplify their message through video, photography, and design.”

Tricia’s motivation to carry out her job every day comes from her passion for knowledge, her children, and the importance of documenting the lives of First Nation’s people right now because of how difficult it is for First Nations to look back, and be properly represented.

“I’m kind of acting as a vehicle for that sort of stuff and capturing moments. A lot of it is from my hunger for knowledge and knowing about my own culture and the other nations around me. It’s positive representations of First Nations people.” Tricia said.

She strives to be the voice for First Nations people that are leery about speaking up, in fact, she encourages her clients to speak up. The type of people she normally works with are the type that wouldn’t normally speak up, but without their voices, and experiences, their history can’t be represented properly.

Customer’s keep coming back to Salish Eye Productions because they’ve recognized the dedication from the business owner about the work she does.

“I’ve been told I’m very passionate about the work that I do and it inspires them,” Tricia said.

Also her ambition, passion and the positive, but more importantly proper, representation of First Nation culture that she shares with the world.

Through the service that Tricia provides, she finds more and more that her customers feel respected because she has taken the time to build a relationship with them.  She has an ability to capture a person’s personality.

The Salish Eye Productions owner’s core values are being supportive of all people that she works with and having the creativity to create and carry someone’s message out into the world.

Most importantly, “I value the stories that people share with me. I’m grateful that they trust in me to help tell their story through media.” Tricia said.

Salish Eye Productions has been a mobile business since 2013 when it was founded, but Tricia is seeking to expand and has recently bought two buildings, in Chemainus, one of which is a thousand square feet and will serve as the studio, and meeting place, but a new home for Salish Eye Productions.

The building’s been dubbed Muqsun Lelum which means nosey house.

“My doors are open to other photographers and videographers that would like to use the venues, so I’ll be renting it out, but it will also be a meeting place for people who would like to meet and have live conferences,” Tricia said.

The goal is to have the building open this fall, and upon the unveiling, Tricia hopes to have a traditional blessing by First Nations elders in the Chemainus area followed by a celebratory lunch or dinner with the presence of individuals, organizations, businesses that she’s had the honor of working with.

Moving forward a lot of the work that Tricia will be involved in will be capturing the voices of First Nations people that were simply just not heard. Also, documenting the oral history of families, which will be completely private, and will be locked in a private vault.

A little-known thing everyone should know about Salish Eye Productions is in regards to the company’s name. The Eye in the name, in Coast Salish, means to be an observer.

“My job is to observe and to learn from people and represent them. So, the Salish Eye represents the first nation perspective, seeing the world through the eyes of our lens as opposed to being on the outside looking in.” Tricia said.

Tricia’s goal is to preserve moments, memories and represent the vision of her clients.

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