Director's Statement

For millennia, the Haida People have lived on the remote islands of Haida Gwaii. In the wake of the forced assimilation brought about by the Indian Residential Schools, the Haida Nation continues to face great challenges in retaining their cultural and economic sovereignty. From the perspective of a young Haida poet (Towustasin Stocker), White Ravens bears witness to the transgenerational trauma of colonization as survivors, their children, and grandchildren struggle with the effects of substance abuse, suicide, and interfamily trauma. White Ravens focuses on patterns of resistance, from Towustasin’s family history of blockading corporate logging operations, to the Haida Nation’s resurgence of the potlatch—the gift-giving ceremony that remains central to the self-governance of all Coastal First Nations People. On the eve of a historic chieftanship potlatch, the film meditates on the Haida legacy of resistance and resurgence, presenting a portrait of a First Nation community in healing.