The Gwa'sala and the 'Nakwaxda'xw First Nations people lived as two distinct groups along Canada's northwest coast. In 1964, for ease of administration, the Canadian Government forcibly relocated them from their traditional territories along Queen Charlotte Strait--Smith Inlet, Seymour Inlet and Blunden Harbour--to the Tsulquate reserve near Port Hardy on Vancouver Island, far from their traditional territory. They took what they could carry, and when they returned for their possessions, the Indian Agent had already burned their houses to the ground. The effects were devastating and prompted the 1970 publication of Alan Fry's book How A People Die.
Yet return journeys to visit their traditional homelands have managed to reverse a tragic spiral, helping them to reconnect to their land and culture. Candid and moving interviews, striking archival footage--including their early contact with Franz Boas and Edward Sheriff Curtis--and a visit to their stunning homelands portray a journey of healing.
How A People Live brings to life the story of a people known for their theatrical dances, strong connection to the land, and the strength that enabled them to overcome incredible hardships--disease, Indian Residential schools and the destruction of their villages. This is a story about their reconnection with their land and culture and a journey of healing and rejuvenation of their community. It's a story of how a people live.
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