After the Last River Movie Review

After the Last River
After the Last River

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After the Last River Movie Review


Film: After the Last River

Producer & Director Vicki Lean

Filmmaker, Vicki Lean, began documenting the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario in 2008, when mining giant De Beers opened the Victor diamond mine some 90 kilometres upriver from the community. She first visited the community, along with her father, David Lean, an ecotoxicologist, and representatives from Ecojusticeand Wildlands Leaguetwo weeks following the mine’s opening.

They had been invited by concerned community members in Attawapiskat to discuss potential environmental impacts from the new mine, including the possibility that methylmercury in the local fish might increase to dangerous levels. “Filmed over five years,After the Last Riveris a point of view documentary that follows Attaw apiskat’s journey from obscurity and into the international spotlight during the protests of Idle No More… painting a complex portrait of a territory that is an imperilled homeland to some and a profitable new frontier for others”.

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In our textbook reading,

“Death by Poverty: The Lethal Impacts of Colonialism,”author Pamela D. Palmater states the following:

“While the focus here is on the ongoing colonization and dispossession of Indigenous peoples through government policies and funding mechanisms, it would be incomplete without an acknowledgement of the equally lethal damage done by corporate colonization and dispossession of Indigenous peoples. Some argue that we have entered a second phase of colonization, or ‘re-colonization’ of Indigenous peoples, which has the possibility of being just as lethal” (Antony, Antony & Samuelson, 2017, p. 52).

“Death by Poverty: The Lethal Impacts of Colonialism,” also includes the following quote from United Nations rapporteur, James Anaya, noting the “dramatic contradiction of Indigenous poverty in the face of so many corporations making profits from Indigenous lands with government backing.”

“One of the most dramatic contradictions indigenous peoples in Canada face is that so many livein abysmal conditions on traditional territories that are full of valuable and plentiful natural resources. These resources are in many cases targeted for extraction and development by non-indigenous interests. While indigenous peoples potentially have much to gain from resource development within their territories, they also face the highest risks to their health, economy, and cultural identity from any associated environmental degradation.

Perhaps more importantly, indigenous nations’ efforts to protect their long-term interests in lands and resources often fit uneasily into the efforts by private non-indigenous companies, with the backing of the federal and provincial governments, to move forward with natural resource projects” (Antony, Antony & Samuelson, 2017, p. 55).

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In your paper: Answer both of the following questions in essay form.

1.Explain each statement within the above two quotes, with content drawn from the film After the Last River and course readings to back up your explanations.

In doing so, make certain to include attention to:

(1) Social, environmental, human rights & political challenges and issues faced by those living on the reserve

(2) The questionable value of the IBA (Impact Benefit Assessment): What promised in IBA and Realities witnessed in the film

(3) Actions + arguments put forth by: Chief Theresa Spence; Charlie Angus (NDP MP for Timmins / James Bay riding); and Shannen Koostachin.

2.Argue the applicability of the “Intersections of the Social Determinants of Health” (Antony, Antony & Samuelson, 2017, p. 174) to that profiled in Attawapiskat during the time period of the film.

Do so with evidence drawn from the film and from course readings.

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