Digital Immersion Gallery

Sacred Defenders of the Universe

There is a hero inside of us all.

The Story of Sacred Defenders of the Universe

Living in harmony with Earth remains humanity’s greatest challenge. Before colonization, all living beings lived in balance by showing respect and honour for each other's existence through ceremony and traditions.

Today, that balance has been altered due to the internal struggle of all human beings; the conflict of humility and ego. This is known to some Indigenous communities as The Great Conflict of the Thunderbird and Horned Serpent.

Sacred Defenders of the Universe tells the story of how The Great Conflict gave birth to four superheroes, known as the Four Sacred Elements: Water (Aqueous), Fire (Embers), Earth (Terra) and Wind (Aireus). These sacred defenders rediscover their universal gifts of elemental energy which are found inside all human beings – gifts passed down through the ancient ancestral teachings.

Will humanity learn to restore balance between humility and ego before the consequences of indifference on Earth are irreversible? This story is a reminder to look deep within ourselves to rediscover our own unique gifts because there is a hero inside of us all.

The Characters

  • Water


Direction: East

Colours: Blue, green, white

Symbol: Blue water orbs, pendant necklace.

Strengths: Natural leader, patient, intuitive, leads with heart, emotions, and mind.

Gifts: Communicates with water energy through rivers, tides, and moons.

Special Ability: Portal Keeper of Multiverse.

Creation Story: Born from the Thunderbird’s tears.

Science Connection: Water is sacred, it is the life source of all living beings. Water is the connector between land and air through the water cycle, as well as the connector between this world and the spirit world through ceremony and vision.

  • Fire


Direction: South

Colours: Red, purple, black

Symbol: infinite symbol, birthmark

Strengths: Spontaneous and resilient. An empath that leads through emotion.

Gifts: Communicates with fire energy through sparks and smoke, and extreme energy sources like the sun and other star energies.

Special Ability: Spirit Keeper of Time Travel.

Creation Story: Born from the lightning that strikes from the Thunderbird’s eyes and beak, which starts the fire in the nurse log where Terra is later born, many moons later.

Science Connection: Fire can create life when respected, but can destroy when not. Balance is important with the fire triangle, a lesson Embers is still learning.

  • Earth


Direction: West

Colours: Green, brown, black

Symbol: Mushroom on an Earth staff, medicine pouch

Strengths: Inter-connectedness with the Circle of Life, patient, compassionate. Grounded in the four ways of being: spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental.

Gifts: Communicates with earth and tree energies through spores and roots, and connects with mountain ancestors and moment of earthquakes.

Special Ability: Alchemist of Sacred Geometry.

Creation Story: Born from the nurse log which was created by fire, water, and wind elements.

Science Connection: A forest is a community, with trees and life speaking to one another to thrive and adapt. Terra is within this Circle of Life, listing to the wisdom of the trees and circle to maintain this balance.

  • Air


Direction: North

Colours: yellow, white, grey

Symbol: Golden Feather

Strengths: Respected Community Elder. Understands balance, passes on ancestral wisdom and language

Gifts: Communicates with air energies through wind motion, chinooks, and tornadoes. Breathes life into all living things.

Special Ability: Keeper of Star Knowledge.

Creation Story: Born from the Thunderbird’s breath and wings.

Science Connection: The rotation of the earth creates motion of air and water, and results in winds that make us “feel alive.” Aireus connects the winds from all directions.

Sacred Defenders of the Universe: The Four Sacred Elements

The newest digital immersion experience at TELUS Spark Science Centre,  Sacred Defenders of the Universe,  transforms the 3,000 square-foot space into a vibrant floor-to-ceiling journey inside a graphic novel that follows four Indigenous superheroes - Aqueous, Embers, Terra and Aireus - as they seek to bring back the balance on Earth between humility and respect for the land, and the excessive destruction of human ego.

Visitors will become immersed in the story - interacting with each of the digital elements, creating waves and wind with their movements, igniting their senses with sparks and fire, and growing plants and mycelium. Through the story, visitors will discover Indigenous science through the Circle of Life, the four elements and directions, and key words in local Indigenous languages.

Sacred Defenders of the Universe  was created and built by TELUS Spark Science Centre. This Indigenous-led story was created by Justin Jack Bear and Earl Benallie, animated by a team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, and produced in partnership with Supply and Demand.

Aligning with Spark’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, the creative and production teams consulted closely with local and national Indigenous community members and the Spark Indigenous Advisory Circle to connect the story with local Treaty 7 stories and the lands across Turtle Island.

The Creative Team

  • Sacred Defenders of the Universe

Justin Jack Bear

Justin Jack Bear is a Metis-Anishinaabe Scottish-English Canadian entrepreneur living in Canada. “Jack Bear” is a trade name honouring all of his cultures. He is a proud member of the Garden River First Nation in Ontario.

Justin is a former varsity athlete, now wears many hats, and founded Jack Bear Legacy Pictures based in Vancouver, BC. He works in the film, entertainment and media industry, supporting and producing original indigenous stories from across Turtle Island. Justin co-created the series Sacred Defenders of the Universe (SDOTU) as an invitation for Indigenous peoples and communities to come forward and collaborate with their stories in an educational and entertaining way.

The mission behind the SDOTU series is to include and highlight the diversity and uniqueness of Indigenous peoples and nations from across the Americas – helping to immortalize the languages, oral histories and traditions through digital media for all future generations on Earth to acknowledge.

  • Sacred Defenders of the Universe

Earl Benallie

Earl Benallie was born in Vancouver, British Columbia and is part of the Ktunaxa and Navajo nations. In a small First Nation community located near Cranbrook, where he lived until he finished high school. For the next 19 years, Earl lived on the lands where the Kootenay and the St. Mary’s River merge, now called ʔaq̓am.

For more than three decades, Earl has been writing in personal journals, creating poems and stories. To keep his mind clear, he turns to writing as his cathartic way of passing on the emotions he deals with to be alive on paper. Today we get to see some of these stories explaining what is happening around him using some of the elements.

In the coming years, he will help others by challenging themselves and channel their creativity to new heights and greater expectations. Earl was featured in the media sharing his rainwater harvesting plans on APTN in 2012 and many news outlets talking about creating a first nation superhero series. He successfully launched his own company called, Rain-Cycle: Irrigation systems and Solutions, to promote rainwater harvesting and its benefits. Earl hopes to install rainwater harvesting systems all over First Nation communities to help offset their demand for freshwater shortages.

With his extensive water knowledge in the irrigation industry and a unique cultural connection to Rainwater Harvesting, Earl has found that over the years working with water, one thing is clear, every drop counts.

Sacred Defenders of the Universe Credits

    • Credits

      Produced by

      A TELUS Spark Science Centre
      In Partnership with Supply & Demand Studio

      Original idea by
      Jack Bear Legacy Pictures

      Elder/Knowledge Keeper Advisors
      Casey Eagle Speaker (Kainai Nation)
      Diana Melting Tallow (Siksika Nation)
      Hal Eagletail (Tsuut’ina Nation)
      Alice Kaquitts (Îethka Nakoda Nation)
      Rob Cardinal (Siksika Nation)

      Indigenous Language Advisors
      Diana Melting Tallow (Blackfoot)
      Duane Mistaken Chief (Blackfoot)
      Casey Eagle Speaker (Blackfoot)
      Hal Eagletail (Dene)
      Emil Starlight (Dene)
      Alice Kaquitts (Îethka Nakoda Îabi Language)
      Anthony Wingham (Michif)
      Louis Huppie (Cree)

      Executive Producer
      Olivier Goulet

      Creative Director
      Rémi Lapointe
      Stefan Miljevic

      Artistic Director
      Véronique Meignaud

      Rémi Lapointe
      Tyler Scollon

      Line Producer
      Dominic Lavigne

      Production Director
      Alexe Mercille-Gagné

      Director of Technology
      Rémi Lapointe

      Video Technical Director
      Francis Corbeil

      Video Content Director
      Étienne Cantin

      Motion designer 2D/3D
      Alexandre Lucenet
      Benoit Piccolini
      Étienne Cantin
      Rémi Borgéal

      Mathilde Chamussy
      Gabrielle Killburg

      Kyle Charles (Whitefish Lake First Nation)
      Veronique Meignaud
      Jesse Quinones (Navajo Nation)
      Donald Caron
      Christian Robert De Massy

      Narration, Speech Bubbles and Text
      Justin Jack Bear (Garden River First Nation)
      Earl Benallie (Ktunaxa and Najavo First Nation)
      Kori Czuy (Ancestors from Big Prairie Nation)

      Graphic Designers
      Carol Laprise (Eldorado Design)
      Marthe Courchesne (Eldorado Design)

      Music Composer
      Tony Toosick (Ancestors from Poundmaker Cree Nation)
      Anthony Biafore

      Narrator Voice Over
      Duane Mistaken Chief (Kainai Nation)

      Sound Effects Composer
      Paul-Etienne Côté (Circonflex Studio)
      Tim White (Circonflex Studios)
      Nolan (Circonflex Studios)

      Sound Engineer
      Sydney Galbraith (Circonflex studio)

      Recording Engineer
      Tony Tootoosis (Ancestors from Poundmaker Nation)
      Tim White (Circonflex Studios)

      Traditional Song Composer
      Hal Eagletail (Tsuut’ina Nation)

      Vocals Aireus
      Cherokee Eagletail (Tsuut’ina Nation)

      Flute, Percussionist
      WalterWhite Bear (First Nation of Moose Factory)
      Curt Young(George Gordon’s First Nation)

      Dallas Arcand Jr (Alexander First Nation)

      Percussion and Vocals for Embers
      Darcy Turning Robe, (Siksika Nation)
      Frank Turning Robe, (Siksika Nation)
      Randy Turning Robe, (Siksika Nation)
      Davis McGilvery

      Vocals Percussionist
      Carol Powder (Chubby Cree)
      Noah Green (Chubby Cree)

      Back up vocals , Percussionist
      Toosick Music

      Sound Designer
      Robert (Bob) Levac

      Supply & Demand

      Prop Designer
      Madeleine Bernatchez

      Interactive Programmer and Video Integrator
      Raphael Dupont

      Video, System Integrator and Poutine Critic
      Joel Desmarais

      Technical Drafter
      33 DEGRÉS

      Installation Supervisor
      Robert (Bob) Levac
      Olivier Ganon
      Joel Desmarais
      Damien Frigon

      Specialist, Digital Experiences
      Lowell Smidteboom (Telus Spark)

      Installation Technicians
      Black Cab Productions inc.
      TELUS Spark Science Centre

      Two Canoes Media
      ACMÉ Decors
      33 DEGRÉS

    • More about Supply + Demand

      Supply + Demand is a full-service design agency that specializes in multimedia experiences, content creation and technology solutions. Their team combines extensive experience in content creation for all types of media production, and they represent top multimedia companies around the world. Supply + Demand excels at creating compelling, meaningful and emotionally-loaded experiences.

      Supply + Demand uses the Modular Exhibit System, which is a 360-degree technological solution to create immersive experiences like Sacred Defenders of the Universe in TELUS Spark Science Centre's Digital Immersion Gallery. Sacred Defenders of the Universe is the fourth digital immersive experience that Spark has made in partnership with Supply + Demand.


    • How long is the experience?

      Sacred Defenders of the Universe is a free flow experience that can be as short or as long as you would like. The entire story cycles every 20 minutes.

    • How much are tickets?

      Sacred Defenders of the Universe is free for Members and included in Spark General Admission! General Admission provides access to the whole science centre, including two floors of exhibit halls, two theatres and live happenings on any given day!

    • Are food and drinks allowed inside Sacred Defenders of the Universe?

      Food and drinks are not allowed in the Digital Immersion Gallery. Enjoy delicious goodies in the Eatery on the second floor or Astronaut Ice Cream café near the front lobby!

    • Who is this experience suitable for?

      This immersion experience is suitable for people of all ages, though some may find it disorienting. If at any point you feel dizzy, stand still and close your eyes for a moment. If you are accompanying children or someone with sensory sensitivities, please hold their hand.

Indigenous Science

Science is often taught and learned from a global science worldview, but there are many ways of knowing science through the land and Indigenous stories.

Learn More