Uprivers is the story of two women fighting for what they love: their homeland and way of life. In the context of rampant transboundary mining, the stories of two indigenous women on either side of the Alaska / British Columbia border make a compelling, emotional argument for why our two nations should work together to protect our shared rivers.
Williams Lake, British Columbia
The Mount Polley tailings dam breach in August of 2014 was the largest environmental disaster in the history of Canada by volume. When the dam broke, it released 530,000 cubic feet of toxic mine sludge and tailings water into Polley Lake and ultimately down the Fraser River, Canada's largest wild salmon watershed.
The toxins released from the dam continue to disrupt and threaten salmon habitat and the communities that depend on the fish. Williams Lake is one such community, and the home of Jacinda Mack. Jacinda, an activist and advocate for her community and others like it, shares her people's story of resilience and resistance in the face of environmental and cultural disaster.
Ketchikan, Alaska is a remote fishing town in Southeast Alaska. It borders the Misty Fjords National Monument, a pristine 2 million acre wilderness that supports thriving commercial fisheries and traditional fishing practices.
Across the imaginary line which separates the U.S. from Canada, the KSM mine, one of the world's largest mountaintop-removal mines, is being developed by the same industry that managed the failed Mount Polley Mine. Here, at the headwaters of the Unuk River, Tlingit activist Carrie James works to prevent history from repeating itself.
The Uprivers team believes that storytelling through film is just one piece of a much larger process. The film and its protagonists have been a catalyst for new relationships, community building, and resistance relating to the issue of transboundary mining. We have been privileged to be a part of that process.
The nature of transboundary mining demands that diverse groups from both the U.S. and Canada work closely together at state, provincial, and federal levels. Uprivers is not the product of any one organization--it's a grassroots story that we hope can be useful and inspiring to many different organizations and communities working to protect their lands and ways of life.
Our particular focus, here on the border between Southeast Alaska and British Columbia, is the implementation of an International Joint Commission to oversee development in our shared watersheds.