(10 min) Arts, First Nations, Indigenous
TOFINO, BC: At the end of the road at a carving shed at načiqs (Nachaks: which means “look out over the ocean”) master carver Joe Martin carves through the layers of a 500 year old red cedar tree. Paddling past the village where Joe grew up, Joe reflects on the knowledge and wealth of his ancestors. Retracing Joe’s early life and employment we learn how Joe was fired as a logger for refusing to drag a log across a salmon-bearing stream in his traditional territory. Back in the carving shed Joe and his daughter Gisele share the story when their nation the ƛaʔuukʷiatḥ (Tla-o-qui-aht) First Nation, stood in unity and declared Meares Island a “Tribal Park” during a blockade in one year after getting fired; successfully protecting the island ecosystem from clear-cut logging in 1984. The film’s narrative unfolds through two storylines; as Joe carves a dugout canoe in his workshop we go deeper into Joe Martin’s life as a logger, land defender, mentor and master carver.
After working as a clearcut logger in what is now known as the Clayoquot Sound, master carver and land defender Joe Martin reconciles his past by revitalizing the ancestral knowledge and artistic practice of the traditional Tla-o-qui-aht dugout canoe.