Documentary that witnesses the gripping resilience of the Nlaka’pamux Nation amid the harrowing aftermath of fire and flood to screen in Merritt.

The documentary “Hell and Highwater” tells the heartbreaking story of the Nlaka’pamux Nation communities of Lytton and Shackan as they experience the traumatic loss of their homes through fire and flooding.

Those who wish to learn more about the documentary are invited to attend the free screening on June 19, at 6:30 p.m. at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology. After the screening, participants will have the chance to engage in a discussion. 

Jeremy Williams, “Hell and Highwater” documentary filmmaker, has been documenting the area for years, especially the Kanaka Bar community in Lytton.

“For several years, I’ve been documenting the work they were doing to prepare for climate change, you know, like food security, fuel management as well. The community has been working on great projects,” Williams said. 

But after his friends lost their house in the 2021 Lytton fire, Williams felt the need to document it.

“You feel powerless … the least I can do is help them tell their story, help other people understand how this thing happened,” he added.  

“My motivation (is) to help them tell their story and hopefully people will get an understanding that wasn’t necessarily just a one time event related to atmospheric river,” he said. “There is also the mismanagement of the forest.”

The filmmaker describes the documentary as “a heartbreaking story that sheds light on the core challenges that Indigenous communities face in this climate crisis with the simple being that we need to really focus on this.”

Williams calls witnessing the aftermath of both climate events as devastating.

“I say it was the hardest film that I’ve ever made emotionally, but like I said, I just felt like it needed to be told,” he stated. “Truth needs to be shared, but it’s very hard to do.”

He hopes those who attend the event get a better understanding of what happened and how to face these challenges.

“I guess the hope for me in this film is by shedding light on the core challenges in the colonial structures. We have the opportunities to work together, to remedy problems.”