" For the Innu everything has to do with respect.
Respecting animals, respecting life, plants and he land, respecting elders and other people.
Anything to do with what you would call – the circle of life."
Richard Nuna - Manager
Innu Nation Environmental
Nakatuenita - Respect
It has only been seven decades since the Innu of Labrador were coerced by the Church and Governments from a life on the land to settlement in the communities of Sheshatshiu and Natuashish. Although the connection with ancestral lands has never been completely broken the move to settlement has nonetheless resulted in community breakdown, loss of self government, threats to the integrity of language, culture and spirituality resulting in social problems such addiction, despair and in its most tragic form, teenage suicide.
But the Innu are resilient and in recent years they have fought back, working to take back control of their land, schools, government, social services and resources.
The Innu Nation Environmental Guardians must navigate that sometimes contentious territory where traditional knowledge and western science can either conflict with or enrich each other. The Guardians insure that the traditional knowledge of their culture, the land, plants, and animals carried by the elders in the community is valued and not lost.
The Guardian's job is to be caretakers of the land, culture and resources. They make sure that agreements signed with the Innu Nation for developments like the Voisey's Bay Mine and the Muskrat Falls Hydro Project are honoured.
A film about respect, resilience,
Producers - Trudy Sable
Cinematography & Editing
Music: David Hart, Nelson Milley, Bernie Francis, Steve Mustain
The Innu Nation
The Community Conservation Research Network
Comments from St. Mary’s University Students
Amazing video that allowed us to see the landscape and the people living in that landscape.
This was a deeply moving documentary that has helped deepen my insight into the
problems that the Innu have faced.
It was fascinating to hear about how life used to be in the Innu nation. At the same time,
it was sad when the elders talked about how they feel that their culture is slowly disappearing because their children are becoming accustomed to the Western way of living.
It was beneficial to hear from many different people ranging from elders to younger people.
It was very instructive in terms of understanding how the Innu have dealt with intense cultural and environmental changes.
It gave me better insight into how hydro dams impact communities.
I could feel the pain of some of the people that were interviewed in relation to their removal from nomadic lands, the effects that the government and church had on them, how they were completely ignored at times (low-level flight tests) and how they have lost so much.
I was very saddened to hear about mental health issues that have resulted from abuse at residential schools.
Although the consequences of change are mentioned (alcoholism and addictions), the documentary demonstrated the resiliency and strength of the Innu that has led them to
many positive changes in their land use, schools, and even government.
I was encouraged by the Guardians and the great work that they are doing.
The documentary made me realize that many Indigenous communities (across Canada)
are still left out of many vital phase of development projects.
To me this video, felt like a natural progression of story-telling – I thoroughly enjoyed it,
even though I was crying at some points.