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Preserving Heritage: Indigenous Documentaries on Salmon Conservation
Preserving Heritage: Indigenous Documentaries on Salmon Conservation

Fri, Aug 09


San Juan Island Library

Preserving Heritage: Indigenous Documentaries on Salmon Conservation

Join us for a captivating evening of documentary films highlighting the vital relationship between Indigenous people and salmon, featuring award-winning and powerful stories of cultural and environmental stewardship. This is a FREE event. No RSVP or tickets are required.

Time & Location

Aug 09, 2024, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM PDT

San Juan Island Library, 1010 Guard St, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, USA

About the event

Join us at the San Juan Island Library on Friday, August 9, 2024, as part of the Friday Harbor Film Festival’s “Best of the Fest” monthly free screening series. This event will feature two powerful documentaries that highlight the enduring relationship between Indigenous tribes and salmon, showcasing their relentless efforts to protect these vital species.

Covenant of the Salmon People

Director: Shane Anderson

Running time: 60 minutes

Covenant of the Salmon People is a documentary portrait of the Nez Perce Tribe as they continue to carry out their ancient promise to protect Chinook salmon, a cornerstone species and the first food their people have subsisted on for tens of thousands of years. The Nez Perce is the oldest documented civilization in North America, with archaeological sites along Idaho's Salmon River dating back 16,500 years. The basis of this civilization, and the cornerstone of their creation story, is an ancient covenant with salmon. It is woven into their culture, history, and their species restoration work.

Despite decades of recovery efforts, the tribe is facing the extinction of Chinook salmon due to the widespread construction of dams across tribal lands and climate changes that threaten the salmon’s existence. Tribal members continue to honor their relationship, protecting the basis of their ancestral diet. Their only option to save the salmon from extinction is the breaching of four dams on the lower Snake River. Will the Federal Government take charge of the situation or sit idly by while this iconic species vanishes?

Covenant of the Salmon People received the Best Documentary (Cultural/Historical) Emmy Award at this year’s 61st Annual Northwest Emmy Awards.

Learn more about this film and watch the trailer HERE.


Our Sacred Obligation

Director: Jordan Riber

Running time: 24 minutes

Our Sacred Obligation recounts the historic and now-threatened relationship between the Yurok Tribe and Klamath River salmon, as well as their leadership to protect it, recently leading to the decision to remove four dams on the Klamath River. This film by Children of the Setting Sun Productions recounts the history of the Yurok Tribe’s struggle against the colonization of the Klamath River, which has sustained them since time immemorial. A land reclamation project and a series of dams have brought the Klamath River salmon populations to the brink of extinction. But the Yurok are fighting back. Propped up by their ancestors, and the recent success of the Klallam Tribe on the Elwha River, the Yurok are using their sovereignty to fulfill their sacred obligation to bring the dams down and restore the river.

Following the screenings, there will be a livestream Q&A session where attendees can engage with the filmmakers and learn more about the ongoing efforts to protect salmon populations. Don’t miss this opportunity to be inspired by these compelling stories of resilience and environmental stewardship

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