UNITED BY WATER

"You can flood the path but we will always find our way back"

 
 THE NESPELEM (COLVILLE) CANOE AT WHITE STONE CEREMONIAL SITE ON THE COLUMBIA RIVER.

THE NESPELEM (COLVILLE) CANOE AT WHITE STONE CEREMONIAL SITE ON THE COLUMBIA RIVER.

SYNOPSIS

The 5 tribes (Colville Confederated Tribes, Couer D'Alene, Kalispel, Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, Spokane) of the Upper Columbia River unite on the water in traditional canoes for the first time since the Grand Coulee Dam flooded their traditional waterways 76 years ago.

Directed by Derrick LaMere / Narrated by Sherman Alexie / Sponsored in part by Upper Columbia United Tribes / a War Pony Pictures Production 

Cast and crew:

Directed by Derrick LaMere

Derrick LaMere is a Native American Filmmaker from Spokane Washington by way of the Colville indian Reservation. He is an award winning documentary filmmaker who's recent film has been an official selection to more than 15 film festivals internationally. 

Narrated by Sherman Alexie Jr.

Sherman Alexie, Jr. is a Spokane-Coeur d'Alene Native American novelist, short story writer, poet, and filmmaker. Much of his writing draws on his experiences as an Indigenous American with ancestry from several tribes. He grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation and now lives in Seattle, Washington.

Sponsored in part by: 

Upper Columbia United Tribes

 Pictured:  Left: The Nespelem Canoe, a 32 ft. hand dugout canoe.   Right: a Traditional Salishan Sturgeon Nose Canoe built by Shawn Brigman

Pictured:

Left: The Nespelem Canoe, a 32 ft. hand dugout canoe. 

Right: a Traditional Salishan Sturgeon Nose Canoe built by Shawn Brigman

Then...

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  • In 1940, the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam was nearing completion and with the success of the United States' first modern marvel came the destruction and flooding of the homelands and waterways of the indigenous people of the Upper Columbia. On July 16th, 1940 the tribes of the Upper Columbia held the last Salmon Ceremony before the flooding of Kettle Falls. Their traditional fishing area for over 10,000 years. This day is now known as the Ceremony of Tears.

Now...

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  • Upper Columbia United Tribes (UCUT), a non profit from Spokane Washington acquired 6 old growth cedar logs from the territory of the Quinault Indian Nation. They then gifted these logs to the 6 communities of the Upper Columbia in the effort to reintroduce the tribal members back on the waters of their ancestors. 
  • UCUT then contacted canoe maker John Zinser to recruit and teach the tribal members about the canoe making process. Each community carved their 30+ foot long cedar logs into unique hand dugout canoes.
  • The plan was then to take these canoes, and have each tribe launch from the tribal homelands and journey to Kettle Falls for the first time in over 76 years.
  • 76 years and 1 day after the Ceremony of Tears, the people of the Upper Columbia returned to Kettle Falls. 

United By Water

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Director Statement

Derrick LaMere: "When I started production on United by Water, I wanted to document the experiences of my people (Colville) as they reintroduce themselves to our ancestral waterways on the Columbia. Every day I worked with the canoes and their makers, I became more and more inspired to share the stories of these people. After sharing the project with Upper Columbia United Tribes, I was able to dig deep and tell a portion of our history I feel is left out of the history books of the general public. With the guidance and voice of Native American Poet and Author Sherman Alexie, we as a group were able to tell the unique story of the tribes of the Upper Columbia." 

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PRESS

NPR / NORTHWEST NEW NETWORK

"RADIO INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR DERRICK LAMERE"

LINK

TRIBAL TRIBUNE

"UNITED BY WATER DEBUTS AT THE GARLAND THEATER"

LINK

THE INLANDER

LINK

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For Inquiries:

Derrick LaMere

"United by Water"

EMAIL:

DERRICK.LAMERE@GMAIL.COM

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