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Survival Prayer

VISITING ARTIST—In the past century in Haida Gwaii (British Columbia’s Queen Charlotte Islands), commercial logging, over-fishing, and invasive species have compromised the availability of traditionally harvested foods and threatened the long-term viability of these practices. Compounding this ecological damage is the imminent extinction of the Haida language and loss of traditional knowledge. Naanii Mary Swanson, a last speaker, frames this portrait of age-old traditions at risk. Against the spectacular Pacific coastline, her ancient words set the tone for detailed views of modern life, in which the labor of survival—cutting seaweed fronds, pulling salmon from nets, plucking young spruce tips—speaks to timeless rhythms, sacred ritual, and the power of food and nature to sustain a culture.