By contributor Chantelle Spicer
On December 15, VIU will host the film Fractured Land in the Malaspina Theatre, co-sponsored by Solutions: A Sustainability Network and the Aboriginal Students’ Union. A film rich in the beauty of the BC landscape and cinematography, it won two awards at the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2015.
The documentary, now on tour across the country, is the moving story of Caleb Behn, a young Dene First Nations man who is exploring the relationship between humanity and the landscapes we live on. Filmed in northeastern BC, this could be a story unravelling anywhere in Canada—industry encroaching on the traditional lands of First Nations who are struggling with how to find balance between two different world views.
With BC under threat of natural gas fracking and oil pipelines running across the wild landscapes and coasts, First Nations are often put into a position of having to decide between these two perspectives. This is the story of a Nation fighting against the status quo of progress and industry on legal, political, and social levels. Filmmakers Fiona Rayher and Damien Gillis spent four years with Behn on his journey to become a leader amongst his people. This journey sees him seek to reconcile not only the relationship between his Nation, industry, and the land, but also fractures within himself.
Behn has many hopes for the future of the land and Dene people, stating, “I’d like to spend my life on trying to bring Indigenous laws made around natural resource development to be as strong, as recognized, as received, and as compelling as the western colonial law. I believe that within Indigenous law are very different perspectives on how we as human beings interact with the natural world.”
It is these very perspectives which can give us direction as we strive to live as one with the land and realize true sustainability. Behn is an incredibly powerful voice for his community, but is not alone in this struggle to protect the land, and, ultimately, humanity. This is not meant only for First Nations people, but for all who feel fractured from their land, within themselves, and desire to rectify this.
With sweeping panoramas of the interior of BC and Behn’s voice of hope and strength, Fractured Land is a must-see film. The showing will be held December 15 at 7 p.m., and tickets will be available before the event, so stay tuned for more information.