Films explore issues around indigenous peoples’ fight to protect land

Documentaries detail struggle

A documentary presentation in acknowledgment of World Water Day will feature a film exploring the impacts of fracking on the environment, but the short film that follows is equally impactful, according to organizers.

Fractured Land, a 2015 Canadian film about a lawyer who discovers the implications of hydraulic fracturing, will be followed by A Last Stand for Lelu, detailing the extreme efforts Lax Kw’alaams people are making to protect their traditional territory.

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“The film is absolutely amazing and it speaks to the crossroads that we’ve come to,” says Trish Cocksedge, steering committee member of Powell River Voices, a civic literacy organization that is co-presenting the films with Council of Canadians and Sierra Club. “It shows the courage, stamina, perseverance and the love of the people that live in this little area.”

Taking place on Lelu Island near Prince Rupert, BC, the 24-minute film details the struggle between the Lax Kw’alaams people and the BC government, which is attempting to push through a liquefied natural-gas terminal on the island.

Among other concerns, the people are protecting their food stocks, as one of the largest salmon runs in BC could be wiped out due to the effect the terminal would have on the Skeena River and its estuary near the island.

“They have taken a stand and they are determined,” said Cocksedge. “This is their place.”

Cocksedge says Powell River Voices members hope those who attend the film series are able to take away a strong message from the two films.

“I hope people realize we can’t just look at the surface of things,” said Cocksedge. “We all understand everyone wants a job, but when you put giant industries ahead of people’s lives everywhere, at some point we have to say ‘no.’ It has to be sustainable to the future.”

Petronas, the Malaysian oil and gas company with interest in the Lelu Island area, has already begun drilling and has come face to face with the Lax Kw’alaams who have been occupying the island since August 2015.

Peoples such as the Lax Kw’alaams are willing take drastic action because it is their livelihood at stake, but it is important that others support them in their efforts, said Cocksedge.

“How long do we silence the people that are worried about the environment?” says Cocksedge. “It affects us all.”

A Last Stand for Lelu (screening with Fractured Land)
When: 2 pm, Sunday, March 20
Where: The Patricia Theatre
Price: By donation
Info: 604.483.9345, patriciatheatre.com

Copyright © Powell River Peak

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