"Return of the River" is a sequel to "Heart of the People" (1997 Gemini nomination) "Return of the River" is a story of struggle and survival: The Huu-ay-aht First Nations and their ongoing efforts to bring back their river, destroyed decades ago by clear-cut logging and commercial fishing. This Documentary traces the amazing progress the Huu-ay-aht have made in their attempts to restore their river, culture and language- since embarking on this project in the early 1900's Return of the River is a powerful, emotional film which shows how strong leadership and the will of the people, can move mountains... and rivers.
The Huu-ay-aht First Nations on the west coast of Vancouver Island have embarked on an incredible mission to re-build their river habitat, destroyed years ago, by clear-cut logging and over-fishing in their waters. Since I viewed their first video, "Heart of the People" in 1996- the Huu-ay-aht have made some incredible progress: working with logging companies to re-build sections of their river, introducing fish fry into the watershed, as well as building a longhouse and working on restoring their culture. "Return of the River" is a beautifully shot, uplifting documentary about the efforts of an aboriginal community to move beyond the past injustices and re-build their future. The film brilliantly presents a unique model for other aboriginal peoples facing similar dilemmas around the world: partnering with industry to undo the damage done- first steps in a brave new world facing the daily destruction of forests and resources. "Return of the River" is required viewing for all ages, but especially anyone who believes we're too late to start making a difference- the Huu-ay-aht are clearly showing the way.
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