Descendants of the Iñupiat Eskimo people of Alaska are watching their ice—and with it their culture, languages and way of life—melt away.
At the same time, as a new documentary airing on public television stations nationwide on Tuesday April 5 illustrates, Native youth are striving to balance their engagement in the modern world with keeping their valuable traditions alive.
“The ice is starting to melt. The water’s heating up,” says the voiceover of an elder in the trailer, while a younger voice laments, “I fear losing my culture, my language.”
Children of the Arctic follows four teens as they navigate the transition to early adulthood while contending with the effects of a rapidly changing climate, the pervasiveness of a consumption-based economy, and the impacts of oil drilling. Spanning a year, the documentary by filmmaker Nick Brandestini follows Josiah and Fiora, both 18 and newlywed, as they work to balance their lives between these currents that do not quite flow in tandem. Two other Native youth, Samuel and Maaya, are also subjects.
The film is an episode of America Reframed, a documentary series that gets distributed to public television stations around the U.S. It will be broadcast at 8pm Eastern Time on Public Television’s WORLD Channel; check local listings. It can also be seen online at the America Reframed website for 90 days following the screening, and be available for free streaming on World Channel’s website starting on April 6. See the trailer below, and tune in!