Caleb Behn, of the Dene nation, in what is now British Columbia (photo courtesy of Two Island Films)

The Canadian province of British Columbia is rich in natural resources, from gold to natural gas. In recent years, oil and gas companies have literally flooded the region, shooting water underground to increase pressure and force natural gas to the surface — or “fracking.” But First Nations communities, which have lived in the area for generations, rely on clean water for their livelihood. Many, including a Dene resident named Caleb Behn, have joined forces with environmentalists to limit development.

Behn is the subject of Fractured Lands, a 2015 documentary that will screen on Saturday at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York. He has fought gas prospecting not only as an activist, but also as a lawyer, all the while maintaining a personal connection to the land. “Anybody who can throw a hatchet and sue you is a force to be reckoned with,” says Bill McKibben, the environmentalist and writer, in the trailer for the film.

Behn will be present for a discussion after the screening. In the film, he has an eloquence that has helped Canadians understand his point of view. “First they came for the trees, they came for the gold, they came for the fur,” he told one audience in the film. “They came for the children, they came for the oil, they came for the gas. Then they started taking the water, and they’re using the water to fracture the bones of Mother Earth.”

When: Saturday, April 21, 2–4pm
Where: Heye Center, National Museum of the American Indian (1 Bowling Green, Financial District, Manhattan)

More info at National Museum of the American Indian.

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Daniel A. Gross

Daniel A. Gross is a former editor at Hyperallergic, and he is a writer and radio producer in New York City. Some of his stories have appeared in The Guardian, 99% Invisible, The Atlantic,...