What does it mean to connect with your ancestral land? This is the question explored in the short film “Watchers of the Land.” The film follows young people from the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation in the Northwest Territories of Canada as they journey across Tu Nedhe Lake with the Ni Hat’ni Dene guardians to learn about the home that their community relies on—a home that’s being opened up as a new national park reserve within the Thaidene Nene Indigenous Protected Area.
The Ni Hat’ni Dene guardians are dedicated to preserving the land, not only for future generations within their community but also for the world. As the film highlights, the stewardship of the land is a responsibility that spans generations, and the guardians are passing down traditional knowledge, skills, and training to honor their ancestors and protect their home.
The film’s director, Christine Lin, is a documentary filmmaker who focuses on ocean conservation, birds, and Indigenous storytelling. The Short Film Showcase, presented by National Geographic, spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the web and selected by National Geographic editors. It celebrates the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world.
“Watchers of the Land” invites audiences to consider the importance of cultural preservation, environmental stewardship, and the harmonious coexistence of traditional knowledge and modern conservation efforts. It is a powerful testament to the resilience and determination of Indigenous communities to protect and care for their ancestral lands in the face of modern challenges.
The film also sheds light on the importance of engaging younger generations in this work, as they are the future stewards of the land. Through their journey and experiences, they come to understand the significance of their heritage and the need to protect the land for generations to come.
“Watchers of the Land” is a poignant and visually captivating documentary that showcases the deep connection between people, their ancestral lands, and the ongoing efforts to safeguard these irreplaceable natural and cultural resources.
Watch the video by National Geographic
And you can’t ever lose your history or your stories otherwise you’ll lose who you are it’s the den way to pass on your teachings to younger People a lot has changed since the 50s and now that we do have a say you know we’re we’re going to make some changes we want to take back our land we want to be included in the decision- making and make our community a beautiful place I mean who wants to see
A big diesel generating plant soon as you land in the front of the community that’s not pretty no so you know things like that need to Change guys can actually just can you guys just stand in front of the book this way up in the air hands up in the air I’m the thigh Den n manager for for the l k Den First Nation wait for tomorrow I work with a lot of groups and
A lot of the young people that we hire on as mutne youth Guardians the whole intent and and plan land for the KNE hunney Guardians is you know they’re Watchers of the land and so the staff that we have on board have all of the traditional knowledge skills and
Uh training from our elders who have passed on and their parents to live and harvest off the land and to keep things [Applause] Protected so you guys will just lead the way I guess yeah go at a nice Pace what we’re doing this week is we’re trying to develop a plan for some walking trails incorporating Elders to come with us on this trip you definitely need some traditional knowledge to know which path is the safest and to get from A to B or to where you want to go big
Fish that’s the fastest fish I ever saw I’m just being around here she knows what the Guardians do and I’ve been taking my dog Serena she’s been coming to meetings with me and hopefully she picks up big words hopefully she picks up something when she grows up you know what I Mean all right so um here’s the summary of uh what we uh what we heard there’s Trails all over Trails have stories that needs to be told Trails were mean to travel there’s a desire to hear these stories from elders and to get them documented I mean what’s the reasoning to have
Trails if it’s not going to be us using it know there’s we should question that first where’s our Trail where’s our hunting areas they can’t use that for tourism definitely I like felt tension when like during the meeting earlier we don’t know what’s going to happen to our
Future how we can make these two things work together we have to keep in mind that we want visitor experience how many Elders had started this whole thing the TDN how many of the elders we have lost since then I like to see the the youth Carry On The Traveling the hunting keeping
Their cultural their traditional life style we have a really really good working relationship with Parks Canada and the gnwt enr it’s definitely a work in progress and we’re we’re trying to make sure that we have eyes everywhere you know KNE Hut knee are Watchers of the land that needs to be uh
Discussed in regards to overlap land use I was uh involved right from the beginning to the day that uh National Park Reserve was uh established and signed and agreed upon the uh federal government of Canada were the ones that approach the First Nation back in 1970s 80s and ’90s
Asking if we were going to establish a national park there was disagreement because uh we had no say in it the federal government would be the ones in control of that Park and we didn’t want that they had people out here and had identified their traditional territory
As a very beautiful place but with the stories that the Elders of that time had heard there was some major concerns about establishing a park back in those days just because our people never ever wanted to to seed or relinquish any of our tree rates what is a national
Park you feel comfortable that you’re PR rights are respected so years and years had gone by they came back they wanted to talk to another Chief and that Chief basically said no if you’re not willing to give up and like start saying that you’ll respect our rights
We’re not going to have a park in our traditional territory so pack your maps and go I think with the new Canadian government and the way that they’ve come to terms with reconciliation with indigenous people in Canada there is a lot more respect a lot more willingness to work together for a common Goal this name was selected by the community there’s no other Park like this that has been negotiated in this fashion we as first nation’s people we’ve already kept this land pristine and you know protected for thousands of years and if we’re going to continue to do that in Partnership by creating a
Park you know we have to be equal Partners hey let’s go to Hole In The Wall for lunch Yeah my grandparents like taught me how to like live on the land and how to hunt I remember coming here like around 2014 I wasn’t like really paying attention then again cuz like the not appreciating the things like around you as a child you guys can eat without
Potatoes us our potato is this kind of stuff tast good vitamins we always watch out for the the the yellow stuff right here oh yeah always watch don’t break it you you break it the fish don’t taste good and now like coming here again like as a 19-year-old it’s just it’s really
Phenomenal looking at it right Now in a wall that’s all right I came back to because City Life wasn’t for me soon as I did that went straight to B school is kind of special like there’s no roads in and out we call it the highway but we can go by sko by boat or we can fly I encourage people to come to because us us in Guardians we’re like stewards of the land we’re there to help you not there kick you out put your name where you from and your inre address just so we can keep track of you you know because his name is bear bear so cute
You got her number anything wrong hold up be there Than I don’t want this to change just cck that I want to keep it the way it is okay it’s videoing when she was younger I always told her you know this is your land this this is your n look the waves are back Sarah come swimming going to make her
Feel she’s you know going to she’s going to be proud to be who she is to be able to pass on those teachings to my son it makes me quite proud um not only as a mother but as an indigenous person from this community my door is
Always open and I’m always willing to help teach and and Mentor young people and show them what I know knowing that I’ve influenced them somehow or taught them something that’ll help them cherish who they are as Den people Generations before me have suffered in the sense that we were
Ashamed to be who we are as people but as Den people you know we’re beautiful if my father was alive he’d be so proud yeah she’s an adopted and he took the point of speaking to her taking her out and doing all these things to what she is today yeah he’d be really
Proud and they always wanted us to protect the land to live off the land this is home to us I’ve been traveling all over the world world there’s nothing like home I tell you it does not matter if there was an old trail there you want the young
People to know one day maybe will go over there and say this is where my grandfather passed long time ago now I’m going to tell you so that you can keep it then when your kids are growing up you can tell them that will protect my
Land not only mine but every body in Care it’s a indigenous lead indigenous protected area we’re being asked to present this model to be used by other indigenous people in Canada so it’s something New Must CH to all my staff to the Cook to our visitors to our elders to our youth to our crazy dogs and then I guess my question is to Terry what time is breakfast w punch it with your hand it’s very important that we start bringing use with us because they’re the
Ones that’s going to take care of it right jump then I’ll jump after you no you go then I’ll go I promise I promise I go go go go go go this is for our future this is for our kids this is our our backyard just going to have to teach the
Younger kids and our people about how to take care of the park how to take care of th Den this is for Them
Video “Watchers of the Land | Short Film Showcase | National Geographic” was uploaded on 01/09/2024. Watch all the latest Videos by National Geographic on Gretopia