A Film Collaboration for Indigenous Environmental Justice

In February 2022, Denise and Paul Pouliot, the head speakers of the Cowasuck Band of Pennacook-Abenaki people, collaborated with filmmaker Catherine Stewart to create Swimming Upstream: Indigenous Environmental Justice for Our Waterways. The short film was supported by the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire, and featured historic and scientific information relating to the Great Bay Estuary, located on the seacoast of New Hampshire. The film premiered on Monday, February 28th at an online screening.

The film invites the audience to join Indigenous Peoples of the region as they introduce us to the River Herring, a once abundant species which is now under threat. The film focuses on the importance of the removal of dams as a significant step in ensuring Indigenous environmental justice. Specifically, it explores the history of the Mill Pond Dam in Durham, NH. The film was completed just before a successful vote on March 8th 2022, in which 74% of voters chose to uphold a previous decision by the Durham Town Council to remove the dam.

Please enjoy the short film, Swimming Upstream: Indigenous Environmental Justice for Our Waterways here.

A panel which focused on the content of the short film is also available to view. The panel included Denise Pouliot, Sag8moskwa, and Paul Pouliot, Sag8mo, of the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook Abenaki People, Rev. Zachary Harmon of the Reconciliation Committee of the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire, Nathan Furey of UNH, and filmmaker Catherine Stewart.

For additional information about the importance of dam removal, please see INHCC’s resource page. Activities and actions which relate to the film can be explored in the Swimming Upstream Educational Resource, which is designed for all ages and can be downloaded for free.