Thirty-one-year-old Caleb Behn has spent the past nine years studying to be a lawyer, and in the process has become one of the most outspoken and sought after speakers from the First Nations community to talk about the controversial process of fracking and how it pertains to land and water rights and conservation issues. The fracking industry – which has taken a shine to his land in Northeastern British Columbia, home of the third largest deposits of hydrocarbons in North America – operates in such a way when it comes to honouring treaties that a “consultation” often means “we’re just coming in and taking the land, anyway.” It’s a practice that the federal and provincial government has become complicit with, offering deals to almost anyone who asks. Behn has made it his mission to bring these issues to greater light as he continues on with his chosen career.
Behn is a heck of a guide to navigate viewers through the troubled political and legal dealings that Canada has made with the oil, water, and power industries, and Damien Gillis and Fiona Rayher’s Fractured Land certainly illustrates those inherent problems coherently. But what makes the film so special – outside of allowing Behn to open up about his life on a personal level and not just a professional one – is how Gillis and Rayher outline a world of contradictions, not just in the profitable fracking sector, but throughout the subjugation of First Nations people.
It often gets taken for granted that indigenous peoples have often been forced into careers and ways of life that destroy their lands simply to make ends meet, but Fractured Land showcases wonderfully what happens when everyday people start saying that enough is enough.