BLESSING THE FLEET
a documentary film by Chuck Cranston and Christina Nico Pope
Salmon have declined in the Pacific Northwest due to both human induced and natural factors. Less than one percent of king salmon and steelhead survive into adulthood, a fraction of what it was 40 years ago. At the same time there seems to be a potential for decline in the fishing culture among Native American tribes who have fished rivers in the Pacific Northwest for thousands of years. The documentary explores how these two conditions are related and what the future may hold for both.
While many believe salmon are on the rebound, key sources tell us that overall, the recovery effort is failing. Studies show millions of dollars have been spent trying to save habitat, restrict fishing, and modernize hatcheries, but none of it has slowed the decline.
At stake are the investments in recovery which may not be paying off. For the Native American community, the stakes are much higher: the potential loss of livelihood, identity, culture, and spirituality, which are inherently linked with salmon.
Much of our story is told through the lens of the Native American, whose relationship to salmon transcends any in the scientific community, and who gave away his land in exchange for the continued right to hunt and fish. Their rights to fish have historically been compromised since treaty rights were established and widespread development began.
Today, the government’s primary response to the salmon crisis is to restrict harvest, and not to look towards development or climate as a primary cause, or tackle the factors that are behind habitat being lost faster than it can be restored.
What Lies Ahead
Treaty rights become the backdrop through which we tell our story. The legacy of how these treaty rights were established necessarily dictates the direness of salmon conservation to the native people and their future.
Are salmon, and tribal heritage facing the same fate as the buffalo?
Process and Timeline
We anticipate, with your help, the Kickstarter program will help raise funds to support completion of our feature documentary. At this time less than half of the shooting is complete with schedules to continue May-August, 2015. Most principal shooting to complete the project will be done along and near the Skagit River in the Northern Cascades, the Upper Skagit Reservation, and in Seattle, WA. Production would then be complete by August with post and overall project completion in the Fall, 2015.
Risks and challenges
The producers have included the Native American community at all levels of planning to maintain communications, validity, and facilitate scheduling of shooting and use of locations. Delays due to schedule changes or due to weather events could happen. However, close contact with our Native American consultant, the Reservation, and other tribal members should allow for easily modifying a shooting period if needed.
During the remaining shooting timeframe much of the actual work will be developed within our travel plans so we will not be locked into a tight shooting schedule. We will have control over most of the shooting time or days.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)