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STAND: An Environmental Documentary

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This title expires June 30th, 2021

Subject(s): Canadian History, Canadian Social Studies, Documentary, Environmental Studies, First Nations Studies, Geography, History, Science, Sports, Tech/Voc
Grade Level: 9 - 12, Post Secondary

Stand takes viewers on a journey through the waters of British Columbia's stunning west coast. Under threat by a proposed Gateway pipeline and tanker route, it is a coastline of immense beauty, pristine ecosystems and a way of life rich in Indigenous culture and history. The film follows expedition stand-up paddler, Norm Hann, as he travels the length of Haida Gwaii, a group of Bella Bella students building their own wooden paddleboards as a form of protest, and west coast surfer Ralph Bruhwiler. If oil tankers regularly travel the route from Kitimat to the open ocean, carrying oil from the proposed pipeline carryin oil from the Alberta Oil Sands, the people, landscape and wildlife of this area could be endangered.  At the end of his protest journey, Norm is adopted into the Raven Clan of the Heiltsuk Nation in Bella Bella, to honour his efforts. Stand takes you to the core of the issue and raises questions that not only affect B.C., but waterways around the world. This film is a hauntingly beautiful examination of the people and culture of the Great Bear Rainforest and the lives of those committed to defending its fragile ecosystems and fjords, one paddle stroke at a time.

Running Time: 46
Country of Origin: Canada
Captions: CC
Producer: Breakthrough Entertainment
Copyright Date: 2013
Language: English


  • [SPLASH]
  • [BEEP]
  • Extended rains forecast for Pacific waters issued by Environment Canada. Hecate Strait and Dixon Entrance east, storm warning in effect. Winds west 4.5 to 5.5 knots, diminishing to northwest 4.0 late this evening, then to northwest 3.0 early Saturday morning. A few showers. Hecate Straight northern half, sea 6 to 8 meters, subsiding to 5 after midnight and to 3 early Saturday afternoon.
  • I think the more time I spend sitting on the boat waiting, the more apprehensive I get. I'll feel a lot more confident actually once I get out on the board and just start chewing off some mileage on this expedition. We have a really challenging section the first two or three days. We need really good weather to make it happen. And the sooner we do that, the better.
  • I knew this stretch of beach from Old Mass to Rose Spit would be long, but the remoteness, the smallness that I felt was a lot more than I expected. In a way, I guess this is really what I'm searching for. It's these moments of quiet, the absence of all human activity or influence, the connection to the land and the simplicity of it all.
  • A few times today during my paddle, I paused to look around and really soak it all in. I could see all the way across Dixon Entrance to the snow capped mountains of Alaska. This here was the exact place where the proposed tankers would travel. As I neared Rose Spit, I met up with the crew to switch boards and to get my overnight gear. The following section was going to be a challenge. It was remote, exposed, with no place to anchor for the support boat. I'd be totally on my own.
  • Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. has proposed a 1,200 kilometer pipeline to the oil sands in Alberta to the port of Kitimat in British Columbia. From here, 225 supertankers per year, each transporting up to 2,000,000 barrels of oil, will travel through the narrow inlets of the Great Bear Rainforest en route to markets in Asia. The project would see $5 billion spent during its construction and generate an average of 1850 jobs over three years. Upon completion, 217 permanent jobs would be created for the lifetime of the project.
  • In contrast, coastal fisheries and tourism employs 40,000 people annually and relies on an intact coastline. Should the project go ahead, it will contribute $312 billion to Canada's GDP over 30 years. Of this, B.C. stands to earn $2 billion a year, which is equal to the current contribution of fisheries and tourism.
  • If there was an oil spill, these existing industries and a West Coast way of life would be compromised and potentially leave taxpayers with a cleanup bill in excess of $10 billion. Complicating the cleanup process is that the substance being shipped is diluted bitumen, a sticky viscous fluid that doesn't float on the surface like regular crude oil. Dilbit can sink, making containment booms and skimming largely ineffective. According to Environment Canada, Hecate Strait is the fourth most dangerous body of water in the world, with recorded wind speeds of 180 kilometers an hour and waves greater than 20 meters in extreme conditions.
  • If a spill were to happen, it would by definition be difficult to contain, as was the case with the Exxon Valdez. No one can guarantee whether a spill will or will not happen. And while there may be much to gain, the real consideration should be what do we stand to lose.
  • It just basically starts off with a plan, blueprints. And you have to build off those blueprints with the material that you have. And with those materials, you could create a masterpiece like this.
  • My paddleboard is probably one of my proudest accomplishments ever. I'm going to ride it around on the ocean like my ancestors did with canoes.
  • The hardest thing about building my board is being patient because you can't see the progress all in one day. It's in a matter of weeks where you see the shape of your board come through.
  • In the end, you'll be able to use this board for fishing or going out just for a cruise or whatever.
  • It's just a great experience-- building something that I'm going to have for probably the rest of my life.
  • So the kids have put in a huge amount of effort into this project. They've been coming in before school, staying late after school, coming in at night. In fact, I have to kick them out at like 10:30. It's been pretty awesome to see their dedication.
  • I could easily sell this board for money that could go to my college education or for clothes in the summer or anything. But knowing that I made it with time and hard work just means too much to sell.
  • When I graduate grade 12, I want to become a registered nurse.
  • I just want to help the community because I know how to hard it is to live here. I just want to help people I've been around my whole life, who helped raise me, who taught me a lot of stuff about everyday life.
  • My great-grandfather, he made Sanger boats for a living. And by me finishing my paddleboard, I'll be continuing the same tradition of making watercrafts. That's something I'm really proud of.
  • So the idea for a project came about when I was trying to think of something cool that the kids would be stoked on on making in the woodshop. And we've got all this amazing wood around here. And when Norm Hand came cruising down on a stand up for the Great Bear Expedition, it all clicked.
  • When I first heard about Norm and standing up for the Great Bear Rainforest by paddleboarding the whole tank route, I thought it was really cool. And I admired it. That's a big step to take and he made a big impact on everybody.
  • I want to welcome you here today. I understand that you put in 10 hour days on this board. And that's a big accomplishment and it tells us how serious you are about helping the coastal people with our problems. And I'm really, really proud of you. And I welcome you to our land.
  • Thank you.
  • I flew into the Great Bear Rainforest in May of 2000. And I had just been hired at King Pacific Lodge. And I still to this day remember the flight I had and it was blazed in my memory because I don't think I've ever seen anything so beautiful.
  • We're here just south of Hartley Bay and Squally Channel just watching a bunch of humpback whales here. And the proposed tanker route comes right up Squally on its way to Kitimat, right through these humpback feeding grounds.
  • Places like the Great Bear Rainforest and the ocean right out here are places that inspire really powerful feelings and really powerful emotions, and you can't get that anywhere.
  • Norm has been adopted actually by my wife into the Raven Clan and his name is Tam Lan, which translated literally is the steersman of the canoe.
  • Lingcod and chips tonight, yum.
  • One of the things that Norm's adopted, which my grandmother's taught me is that you simply take what you need and you use what you take.
  • The community has taught me probably more in a decade than I learned in my whole lifetime. When I felt that somebody was going to do something to my family here, and do something to an area that I've gotten so much from, it's like you put the boxing gloves on because I'm not going to let anything happen to people that I care about and a place that I really care about.
  • The trip up to this point has been building. The northern section was something that I wanted to get done fairly quickly, just due to the exposure. But now as I'm nearing South Moresby and the Haida Watchman sites, I can definitely feel the trip gaining in energy and its spirit.
  • The Haida established village sites all throughout these islands. While the old cedar house beams and totems of these villages are being reclaimed by the forest, the Haida are still here and I can really feel that.
  • All our legends tell us Haidas came out of the clam shell. We are people of the Sea. So without it, we pretty much don't have us. No matter what Enbridge says, if there's an oil spill, if you're out here on a snotty day, there's no way in heck that they're going to stop any of that oil with their stupid little log booms. I don't need in 50 years for my future grandchildren to look at me and say, what the hell are you guys doing? How come you let them do that?
  • The people who are at risk here, they've lived this for thousands and thousands of years. So really, what I'm trying to do with stand up paddleboarding and what I feel really gives me the power is that connection that I have to the land and to the people.
  • That was a long one, long day. I'll probably take a bit of a break tomorrow. It's been a really long day for everybody and it's nice to put the anchor down.
  • My connection to the ocean, it started really young just growing up here and just living around it and living off of it my whole life. I guess it was just part of me when I grew up and you know I never wanted to leave. I'll always eat seafood and that's my favorite type of food to eat. You'd think I would get sick of all that stuff growing up here, but no, I still love it.
  • You know surfing definitely kept me by the ocean because you've got to be by the ocean to surf. It's a healing place. You go in the ocean and there's so much energy in the ocean, I think when you walk out-- even though you're tired and pooped out from surfing-- it just gives you so much more energy.
  • I just don't think it's really necessary to have a pipeline going there and having tankers going through one of the nicest areas we have left on this coast. There's other deeper ports and there's other ways of doing it. And I mean-- you know I don't be a hypocrite, we all use oil-- but I'm sure there's other ways of trying to use less oil.
  • It's not if it's going to happen, but it's when it's going to happen. There's definitely going to be an oil spill if those tankers keep going there and there's tankers going by our coast every day. One of my biggest fears even growing up-- and it still is my biggest fear-- is having one of those tankers capsized. All that oil, I mean it would wash up all over the place. It would wreck so much of the people on the coast's livelihood. It wouldn't affect people just on the coast, it would affect everybody and the whole country.
  • There would be so much lost. Especially my kids, I want them to grow up like I grew up, to live off the ocean and to play in the ocean. It would be pretty sad I think and I think a lot of people would agree-- that live on this coast-- that it would definitely be devastating to see that.
  • I grew up going out on the boat, going fishing, eating fish, crab, halibut, whatever else you can get from the ocean. It's pretty much all we had at some points. For that all to be threatened by an oil spill, it would be devastating. Everything would be gone.
  • The board means freedom to me, freedom to go out on the water and do whatever I feel like doing, go wherever I want to go. It give me some sort of physical connection to the water and being out there.
  • In April, I participated in a 48 hour hunger strike with 11 other students. It was probably the most difficult thing I've ever participated in.
  • The meaning towards the 48 hour hunger strike was basically show them that we would not give up if we were put in a difficult position and to learn what it would feel like if we lost everything to an oil spill.
  • We have lived off this land for thousands of years, cherishing, learning and respecting everything the traditional lands and waters have to give us. So I stand here today speaking for the land and waters that cannot speak. I say that we are strong. We will not give up on this fight for what is rightfully ours.
  • Beautiful.
  • Thank you.
  • When I was at the JR meetings, what I got out of it was it seems like the were not listening to the people who were talking.
  • I'm pissed off. It makes me upset even just to think about it. The sight of oil everywhere and everything dying would be too hard to see.
  • We all know what's going to happen. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when it's going to happen. And we all know what's coming.
  • Here on Lyell Island is a spot that's motivated me and was one of the real motivators actually for me wanting to do this trip. It was just over 25 years ago that Guujaaw and his brothers made a stand here on Lyell Island and said there will be no more logging on South Moresby.
  • For more than a month, the Haida stand on this logging road, even though the courts say they have no right to stop the logging.
  • Us Haida people, we owe ourselves to this land. We owe our very existence to it. And what they do to the land, they're effectively doing to us. Our commitment is probably stronger than theirs. Our is need for those lands are probably greater than their need for the money that they can derive from those lands.
  • Five young Haidas stood together arms locked in a human chain. The police had to break it by force, one protester at a time.
  • Do you think you're going to be successful?
  • Absolutely, or we wouldn't bother with it.
  • This was a really significant area for me to get to, to be in a place where something like that happened. We just spent the last hour with a tree that was over 900 years old and the tree basically was saved by the efforts of Guujaaw and the Haida.
  • Before starting my expedition Haida Gwaii, I joined the Bella Bella students to launch their boards at the Hakai Institute. For me, I felt it was not only important to instruct them on how to use their boards, but to also be there to encourage and support them. Although they are young, they have a real understanding of the issues facing our coast and they have been a huge inspiration for me.
  • I'm finally in Hakai and I'm so happy.
  • [SQUEAL]
  • Woo!
  • I don't think I'm going to get off my board.
  • I'll skip lunch, skip dinner.
  • The best thing about my weekend was probably getting to use my paddleboard with my friends.
  • All the hard work for the board, late nights, early mornings, it's all worth it now.
  • Well, if there's an oil spill here, I'd be pretty devastated because I just learned a new sport that involves water and I really like that sport.
  • Everything I did this weekend would just be a memory. I wouldn't be able to experience it again. It'd just be gone.
  • This weekend out at Hakai really made me open my eyes to how much would be put at risk and how would be gone.
  • I was kind of surprised when I seen Raph with all the sea urchins. And he was teaching us how to open then and opening them with a butter knife. It was really cool.
  • There you go.
  • OK.
  • Perfect.
  • It's not bad.
  • Not bad, eh?
  • Not bad. That was my first time ever trying sea urchin. And I live where I can easily go and get it. It was kind of weird that he was like oh yeah, I eat this all the time. I love it.
  • Delicious.
  • I can't remember when it was the first time I came here. I can't remember what year it was, maybe five or six years ago. It was on a sailing tour that we were on. And I remember coming into this place at that time and just realizing what an incredible place it is. To think about being on Haida Gwaii itself and how remote it is, then to make your way to the West Coast of this small little island that we're on, and tucked away in this really tiny little cove and to paddle into this cove and to paddle in front of this village, this old ancient village and these old ancient poles, I was coming in thinking about how many Haida had been greeted, how many people had been greeted by these poles coming in. And I feel really fortunate to have been part of that experience where these poles are still here, still standing, still representing a traditional way of life, an ancient way of life. And they're still here. And I feel confident that there's so much strength here that nothing bad is going to happen to them. And I feel good about that.
  • I left Old Massett and our goal was to visit all the Haida Watchman sites. This our final one. It was a very intimate experience with the watchman. And each site was is different. Each site was special in its own way. And you can't pick a favorite. They're all really unique. They're all really special and really, really powerful places. And that's what our goal was, was to visit those places and experience this really rich culture.
  • I don't even know who I would be without Haida Gwaii. That's not just the land. It's the ocean. We're ocean faring people. There's no turning back once there's a spill. You know it's just changes everything. Yeah, it's something I'd die for.
  • Being Gitga'at to me means living the life here. it means living off the land, living off the sea, but at the same time making sure that we are looking after what is around us.
  • If this proposal is to go through, I'm pretty sure that every single one of our boats will be out there, putting our lives at risk.
  • If something happens, then that would all be gone, all that freedom to go out on the water. Freedom to do whatever you want would be gone.
  • It still amazes me every day that I turn on the TV or I look in the paper or I'm watching it online how many more people are jumping into the canoe to support our Great Bear Rainforest and the people of it, to keep oil tankers off the coast.
  • This place. makes us who we are.

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