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Bella Bella

Bella Bella

| 27 min
1974 8 films

What makes British Columbia different from the rest of the country is a fascinating subject no matter what form it takes. When explored on film it makes for vivid contrasts and not a few surprises. The films in this series capture a colorful spectrum of life on the west side of the Great Divide, reflecting not only the physical magnitude of the land, vertically and horizontally, but the character of the people who meet its challenge.


This documentary short is an introduction to the Bella Bella (Heiltsuk) of Campbell Island, 500 km North of Vancouver on the Pacific Coast. Since the coming of settlers, these fishing people have watched their ancient Heiltsuk culture and their independence all but disappear. Today, in an energetic attempt to become self-sufficient, they are regaining both - successfully combining economic development with cultural revival.

We hear the Heiltsuk language spoken in the film (Haíɫzaqvḷa).

  • director
    Barbara Greene
  • producer
    John N. Smith
  • executive producer
    Ian McLaren
  • photography
    André Gagnon
    Yves Drapeau
  • sound
    Claude Lefebvre
  • editing
    Barrie Howells
    Tina Viljoen
  • sound editing
    John Knight
  • re-recording
    Jean-Pierre Joutel
  • music
    Larry Crosley


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Ages 12 to 15

Geography - Territory: Indigenous
Indigenous Studies - History/Politics
Indigenous Studies - Identity/Society

Keeping their culture alive while adopting the comfort and amenities of modern society was a challenge that the young people of the Heiltsuk Nation tackled in the 1970s. Did they succeed? Tracing the evolution of this community and profiling their current situation using Web research is a good starting point for better understanding Canada’s diversity. What communities in this country are currently facing similar challenges?

Bella Bella
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