Spirits in the Wilderness raw: #4, Meetings

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.

00:26Copy video clip URL On the heels of a recently finished conference call with other First Nation leaders, Pat Alfred, elected Chief of the ‘Namgis band, suggests the ‘Namgis fisherman comply with plans to fish an already scheduled commercial opening. Because some of the fishers fish on boats owned by larger companies who have already negotiated contracts with native fisherman, they do not want to risk losing  access to a boat or their contractual trade arrangements.

02:15Copy video clip URL Alfred appears to speak with a representative from the Canadian government’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

04:18Copy video clip URL Interview with Roy Cranmer on the steps of the ‘Namgis Administration office. He gives context to the previous conference call with other First Nation leaders and explains the precarious position of fishers like himself in the ‘Namgis band who are bound to commercial contracts yet wish to counteract the large-scale reduction in fishing openings by Canadian government regulations. With plenty of salmon returning to the Johnstone Straight, Cranmer hopes for the possibility of forcing a fishing opening.

06:11Copy video clip URL Cranmer explains the possible divided outcomes of native fishers who might go out “legally” or “illegally.” In Alfred’s recent call with a DFO official, Cranmer says the government has threatened to seize boats and nets if fishers dispatch when the waters are closed.

06:52Copy video clip URL Cranmer lists the different First Nation bands involved in the recent conference call. He explains reasons for his hesitation to fish alongside the other bands in their decision to disregard the government’s regulated fishing openings.

09:11Copy video clip URL A water plane takes flight along Johnstone Straight.

09:34Copy video clip URL Video cuts to black. End of tape.

 

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