Yellowknife-born Marika Sila has been making a significant impact as of late as an Inuk artist, having been featured in Elle Canada for helping to reclaim her culture, as well as working on a documentary on the fallout from residential schools.
“I’m producing and directing my first documentary where I am interviewing Indigenous Elders and community leaders on what they think needs to happen next in regards to the discoveries that have happened,” Sila said of the buried bodies of children located at former residential school grounds. “My goal is to ask the community themselves: how can we move forward in the best way possible?”
Initially born in Yellowknife, Sila moved to Canmore, Alta., at the age of five. There, she would grow up to become an actress and TikTok influencer. Her interest in acting started at age nine with the film Miss Congeniality.
“I was obsessed with the movie,” she said. “I watched it probably 100 times.”
She would get a chance to visit the Scooby Doo 2 movie set with her brother thanks to the help of their neighbours, who were working on location.
“We got to step on set and see what everything looks like behind the scenes,” Sila recalled. “Ever since then, I’ve been just super excited about the idea of being a filmmaker in general and being in the film industry.”
She would go on to star in projects like the remake of The Twilight Zone before being featured on the cover of fashion magazine Elle Canada in January 2022.
“It’s really an exciting time,” she said. “It’s opened a lot of doors for me in my career as an actress and also as an influencer. It’s been really, really great.
“It’s nice to be acknowledged among so many other Indigenous, specifically Inuit women who are such powerhouses in the community,” she said.
The article in Elle Canada discusses how Sila is creating more opportunities for Indigenous youth by “pressuring the Canadian government to stand by its commitment to improve diversity in the mainstream media and within leadership positions in the corporate world.”
She’s now in pre-production on her documentary, titled What’s Next? On Canada’s RedPath to Reconciliation
“I believe that many Canadians and people across the world don’t understand or even know about what happened in residential schools. I believe that where there is understanding, there is compassion, and racism dies in the face of compassion,” she said. “So I very much believe that it is important for us to raise awareness and build that deeper understanding amongst our nation.”
Her film project will more than likely bring her back to the North sometime before the end of the year, she said.
“One of my goals is always to come back home as much as I can,” she said. “I really love going all the way up to Tuktoyaktuk, which is where my traditional territory is.
“Yellowknife is always amazing,” she said. “I love it there, brings back so many memories. I know that this project will bring me back up north. I am hoping that is sooner than later. So yeah, it’ll be nice to be back home.”
Sila is also striving to continue developing her brand through her talent management agency RedPath Talent.
“My goal is to help provide opportunities to the Indigenous community, and also to teach us the performance arts because I believe that there is a lot of healing within art,” she said.