Lifeblood – Full documentary

Lifeblood – Full documentary


(pensive piano music) – [Woman] In the Puget Sound, there’s an incredible
amount of natural beauty. We are completely surrounded by it, but as we go through this
time of very rapid change, there’s a very real threat that we’re gonna lose pieces that make this place so special, (whale expelling air) pieces we may not be able to replace. – Salmon is probably one of the biggest health indicators of what
we’ve got for our region. People don’t understand how
much it defines the region until it’s gone. (intense music) – We lose agriculture here. What is left are unfortunately, people that don’t know what they lost. Maybe we take for granted
when our Frosted Flakes come from Minnesota. – We mean something, our culture means something. Extinction isn’t an option for our people, it isn’t an option for our culture. – Over the past 100 years, we’ve made choices that echo into today. The decisions to change
how the river flows, to dam the water, to
pave as much as we have. What we’re seeing is an ecosystem on the precipice of collapse. – [Taylor] This population has seen its numbers reduced dramatically. – I think there was a sense, historically, that because Washington did
not have very many people, that you could take and
take from this ecosystem, and it would always be there for you, because that is how it was. (intense music) Given the number of people
that live in Puget Sound, the number of people that are gonna be coming to Puget Sound, we really do have to
do things differently. We absolutely have time, but it is gonna require us to rethink, and to look to each
other in a different way. (rushing water) The next hundred years, we’re not gonna get the same leeway. (water splashing) (vibrant piano music) Water, water, I mean water is, it is the lifeblood of Puget Sound, right, I mean it’s the joke of Puget Sound, that it’s always raining here, but it is, in fact, our raison detre, it is the thing that connects us. Water touches all of us, and because of that, we’re gonna need all different kinds of
people coming together to see a new future, people who have different
needs, different histories, people who are unwilling to accept that they’re too
different to work together to make this place better. (dramatic music) (vibrant music) – There’s nothin’ like it. It’s almost like a drug. Every moment away from work, you’re figurin’ out how you’re gonna get back out on the water and go fishin’. My favorite’s still king salmon. When you hook into a 30,
40, or 50 pound king, it’s life-changing. Those fish do what they want. You’re on the other end, and you’re hangin’ on but
you’re at their mercy. When you take people
out for the first time, and they’ve never done this before, and you hook ’em into a really big fish, it changes them forever, too. It’s what we do and it’s who we are, and we don’t want this to go away. (reflective music) – It’s no surprise that
Chinook aren’t doing well. 200 years ago this estuary
would have been wide open. (somber music) Salmon wouldn’t have to compete for space as they move through the estuary. There would have been space
enough for every salmon that moved through here. With the constraints in the estuary today, they don’t have the room they need. A lot of times that means the
fish move through the system way faster than they normally would, and this sends them into Puget Sound without being big enough
to defend themselves and to live in the big world. That lack of estuary habitat is the main bottleneck
to Chinook survival. Chinook really are a
canary in the coal mine, and when we see that
Chinook aren’t doing well, we know there are problems
with their ecosystem. – We’re losing habitat faster
than it’s being rebuilt. I spent some time right
here in my backyard, Snohomish River System, and
I went out and I looked, and I started really lookin’
at how the habitat’s connected, and boy did we break it. I mean, it’s so obvious
once you look at it. We got a lotta things that really need to be cleared up and fixed. (ethereal music) We’re tryin’ to change the way
we do business in Washington. We’ve been fighting over the last fish for far too long, and it hasn’t worked. We used to fight with
the tribes constantly; finger-pointing, blaming. We don’t wanna do that anymore. We wanna bring our salmon runs back. Now, we talk about how to fix things instead of how to get that
last fish from each other. – If we give the estuary room, it will build the habitat
that’s important to fish. Here in the Snohomish, we
have a lot of open space around our estuaries, and there are opportunities to restore it. In 100 years, no one will
think this was a bad idea. – We need to have the
conversations with the tribes, with the agricultural community,
with fisheries people. If we’re not workin’ together, I don’t think we’re gonna get there. You know, it’s really
easy to demonize somebody if you don’t get to know ’em. When you bring ’em in
and set ’em at the table, and they start to work
together, that goes away. The reason I do all this is because I want my kids and my
grandkids to be able to fish. There’s nothin’ more enjoyable than that, than to take off, go out on a boat, and go out there and go fishin’. We don’t want this to go away, we wanna see it get better. (wind rushing) (birds calling) – Pray to the spirit for the
teachings, for the words, for the good heart. You’re going out on the
water to feed your family, you’re going out on the water to make the connection to your culture, and you’re honoring that
salmon, respect ’em. That’s what I did this morning, before my feet hit the ground,
I was saying my prayers. (reflective music) To be out here on the water, to me, is a huge connection to my ancestors, it’s a connection to who I am. – These beaches are what
taught me about life. Everything has meaning here on the beach. Our ancestors, we know,
are here in every wave that rushes up on the rocks here. This is sacred to us. Long before we were human,
we were salmon people. That’s who we are is the Tulalip people. We are king salmon people. – [Man] The salmon are very
important to our culture. They’re in our creations, stories, they’re in our songs. They feed our spirit. Our spirit craves that food. It’s important to come out here and fish, to honor that gift. – I hope that my grandkids
and my great grandson inherit water, and the mountains, the ability to fish in
this bay right here. If you don’t have some place to live, or can’t find a connection
to your land and your water, you’re lost. (pensive music) The salmon are struggling. Our resident killer whales are crying out for us to do something, and that’s unacceptable to myself, my grandchildren, my people. They depend on salmon. – This river has changed dramatically. As the settlers came in,
they changed the landscape. They built homes, farms started coming in, fertile grounds that the
farmers found were rich, but with the loss of the salmon, you’re losing that fertility, you’re losing the connection to the river. The river isn’t providing a service. We’ve gotta find a way
to survive together. How do we go from this point forward to make sure that we work together, that both the tribal and
non-tribal society is viable? – I know we as tribes, there was a time when we felt like we were faceless, and sometimes hopeless,
but we are not hopeless and we are not faceless. We want to be at the table. We want you to understand why this I so important for us to partner. We’re stronger together than we are apart. – Our culture means something. Extinction isn’t an option for us. We have a lot of things in common with the agricultural folks. (tribal music) I hear what they’re sayin’. They want a viable industry. They don’t wanna be pushed out. We wanna be viable too. We wanna be a sustainable culture, and we both have the same thing that we’re tryin’ to get to, we’re just on the other side of the road. (tribal drum music) We’ve gotta realize that we have a lot of common things together that we can work together, that it makes those hard times
a lot easier to work through. I’m hopeful that our
kids pick up that spark and not only our experienced fishermen, and successful and rich in the culture, but they also can look across
and wave to the farmer, and share our bounty with them, because they’re stewards
of the land as well. – That’s why it’s important
for us to work and find a win-win for us all, not for just for tribes, but for everyone in Washington state, so that we do have a whale to see, and we do have salmon to eat, and all the things we love,
and really, the time is now. We can’t wait. (vibrant music) (somber music) – [Man] Bein’ a farmer,
it’s not about makin’ money, it’s more of a way of life. Just getting your hands in the soil, it does something to you. – [Man] If I could say,
what do you do for a living, I’d say I was a land steward. I get to just wake up and be outside. It’s deeply important to the
Snohomish County community to have agriculture here. I think it’s a big part of their identity. – [Man] It’s multi-beneficial in not only as a place for the individual
to raise their family, it adds to the community, it provides food and fiber. – It’s open space. This is some of the last
remaining open space in the area. During these times of plenty, we just take it for
granted that we can get all this food from
Kansas or wherever else. There might come a time where, we’ll be, “Where’s all the farm land?” Well, all the houses are on it. – [Man] There are many
challenges facing us today. In this area here, some of ’em because of the encroachment
by development, and some of ’em are weather-related. – With climate change it’s just, as a farmer, it just throws
in kinda one more variable. It’s just on more thing to kinda like challenge the farmer, the average farmer, that already has a very
challenging delicate profession. – [Man] I would hope to continue
to see farms and farmers in my area, and in the
Snohomish River Valley, and then I would hope to see
more fish, more salmon runs. Yeah, I would love to see ’em both. – As far as the loss of the fish, some of it has been related to farming activities in the past, but we’re finding out how
we can improve our farming, and a lot of those things,
we’re overcoming them. Our industry and what we
do is much more beneficial to the wildlife and the fish than the alternative out there. – I do believe salmon and
agriculture can exist. It can exist ’cause
farmers need clean water, salmon need clean water, farmers need healthy land, and salmon need healthy land. It’s all a mess because these two parties that should and do want the same thing have been pitted against
each other as they don’t, and that’s just not true. (vibrant music) – We need to figure out how we
can obtain what we all want, and be able to walk together
and get there jointly, instead of, well I’m gonna go this way. If you sit down and have dinner and good conversation with someone, you develop a little bit
of a different rapport, and you learn to respect
where they’re comin’ from, and all the sudden, “Hey I can
sit down and work with you.” We’re on the same page! But as long as we don’t
sit down, we’re clueless, we think it’s me against you. Everything’s got to coexist. You’ve gotta look at the overall picture. And ag is part of that. (vibrant music) – To think we can’t make
a change for the better, that it’s just too big or
complicated is just not true. We can make it better
step by step together, each person, each piece of
this puzzle, doing their part. – We’re done, we’re done fighting, we donta need to fight over the last fish, we need to bring more fish back, but we’re not gonna get there if we aren’t working together completely. – Sometimes we have to
give up a little bit, and gain a little bit. We all can’t have exactly what we want, and that’s good, because
sometimes what we think we want really isn’t the best thing. – We’ve gotta find a way. If we’re all gonna survive, we all have to find a way to
make it work for all of us. – We’re at a place now where people have put down their old burdens so
that they can work together, so that we can forget a new path. That burden is the assumption
of what the other person is, it’s the assumption of what the other side is trying to do to you, and when you let that burden down, and you see that you’re
actually in it together, in that, is enormous power. (mild guitar music) ♪ Go your own way ♪ ♪ Go your own way ♪ ♪ Leave behind everything you fear ♪ ♪ Turn and face the sun ♪ ♪ You’re not on the run ♪ ♪ Leave behind everything you fear ♪ ♪ There’s a life source ♪ ♪ In the heart of the mountain ♪