a film by Claudia Dejá
lenght 90 min. language English/German
Many years have passed since the 20-year-old Sanna from Hamburg, Germany fell in love with the Canadian First Nation sculptor David, who, at the time, was working on a totem pole at the Ethnology Museum in Hamburg. Sanna decided to leave behind her old life and follow the love of her life to Canada. They now are parents of four children between the ages of 7 and 15.
The Seven Deers family has now lived on their self-built ranch “Shaheylah” for more than 12 years. The ranch is located within the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, about 600km east of Vancouver. Like pioneers, Sanna and David have worked their land. Having neither water nor power, their first task was to find free flowing water, in short, a spring – essential for their survival out there. They cleared paths and laid water pipes and within only three months they had built their own wooden house, all by themselves. “Only take from nature what you need to take” is what the Seven Deers live by in their remote home in British Columbia. Strongly influenced by the spirituality of the First Nations, none of the four children attend public schools, but are homeschooled by their 39-year-old mother Sanna. Sanna’s and David’s dream of their children growing up close to nature and away from city life has become true. However, nature is not without dangers. Especially the younger children always have to stay in sight, as numerous wild animals, such as bears, cougars, and coyotes also call the wilderness their home. Early on, David taught the children how to defend themselves and equipped them with knives, which they carry with them at all times. Besides her work around the ranch, Sanna writes novels and is greatly concerned with the transmission of native culture. Her husband David, who is also an author, plays an important role in this quest as her consultant.
There is, however, a price to pay for the life Sanna chose in living with David secluded in the wilderness. Racism is still an ever-present challenge in the surrounding rural neighborhoods.
The idea of a white woman living together with a First Nation man still seems wrong to many people in the area.
Written, directed, produced by
Director of photography
Author Sanna Seven Deers
David Seven Deers
Sanna and her four children
Haley and Wiyehka
on the way
light a fire
1 - 7
Photos please download here
Please download the Press Kit here.