Haida Gwaii is an archipelago off the Northwest Coast of British Columbia. When colonization began, the Haida Gwaiian people were decimated. Their land has been slowly destroyed through logging and over-fishing, but the people of Haida Gwaii stood up to government and big business to bring their lands back to life. Now they face another battle as companies want to lay pipelines directly through their land, as well as filling the dangerous waters around them with tankers.
So often, films like Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World only show us the terrible damage done to Native lands from corporate and government interference. While that may play a part in this film, it also shows us how the Haida Gwaiian people have reclaimed not only the land so that it can thrive, but have taken over the very types of business that destroyed the land in the first place. By owning these companies, the people who live off the land are able to balance making a living with respect for that same land.
That’s what makes this film so special. It not only presents a solution to the problem, but shows people actively using those solutions. They understand that these jobs are important for people who live there, but they also know how to continue doing things without ruining the world around them.