Spirits in the Wilderness raw: #1

Raw footage for a documentary commissioned for the opening of the Shedd Aquarium's Oceanarium. Producer, director, and editor Judy Hoffman documents an aboriginal fisherman, Roy Cranmer, fighting to preserve the 'Namgis band's historic fishing grounds and land of origin while protecting the vibrant ecosystems and salmon populations that have sustained the Pacific Northwest Coast region for centuries. Also known by the anglicized name Nimpkish, the 'Namgis are part of the Kwakwaka'wakw (initially named the Kwakiut'l by Franz Boas) First Nation and have their homeland in what is now British Columbia, on the northern end of Vancouver Island. Hoffman has maintained a long relationship with the ‘Namgis band, having been adopted into the Cranmer family at the Cranmer potlatch in November 2017.

00:58Copy video clip URL Outside the ‘Namgis Band Administration office, a weathered totem pole stands with one of its wings broken and missing.

02:20Copy video clip URL Children swimming and playing together.

06:00Copy video clip URL Views of the weathered totem pole in front of the administration office.

07:49Copy video clip URL The Johnstone Straight, a channel on the northern end of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

08:39Copy video clip URL Inside the ‘Namgis Band Administration office.

08:54Copy video clip URL Pat Alfred, a Chief of the ‘Namgis First Nation.

09:11Copy video clip URL A man by the nickname “Longo” attempts to make a call.

10:38Copy video clip URL A conference call begins. Speakers over the phone discuss the possibility of issuing fishing licenses from administration offices of other First Nation tribes to lay claim to indigenous fishing rights. At this time, other indigenous groups have already attempted a protest fish, where, claiming aboriginal fishing rights, they have fished during a time when the Canadian government has not opened fishing grounds to commercial fishers. Now, Alfred, along with other First Nation leaders are determining if they will continue to negotiate a fishing opening with the Canadian government or profess solidarity with the protest fishers by fishing outside of the terms set by the government run Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

15:05Copy video clip URL Alfred talks about current communications of indigenous leaders with the Canadian government and press release updates.

17:20Copy video clip URL Roll call.

19:30Copy video clip URL Alfred again reviews the information released so far by the Canadian government and other tribal leaders about the potential for opening fishing grounds to seine boats. Recent sockeye catch information is given alongside the government’s stated reasons for reduced fishing openings as a purported effort to conserve sockeye populations.

23:36Copy video clip URL Review of the meeting agenda. A wall poster reads, “Kwakiutl Food Fishing… is more than a right. It is a way of life!”

24:46Copy video clip URL Image of the Kwakiutl Territorial Fisheries Commission Press Release for August 3, 1990. Discussion continues, including revised terms for the sale of fish collected by indigenous commercial fisherman.

 

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