The Damaging Impact of a Neglectful Nation: After the Last River


Vicki Lean’s heartbreaking documentary of suffering in Attawapiskat reveals the damaging impact on first nations livelihood of industry and government regulations ostensibly designed under concealed agendas. Her expository documentary requires little convincing, as Lean makes readily observable through first hand and archival footage just how desperate are the conditions facing the families here, most of whom struggle with sickness, poverty, house-crowding, and general despair.

Conditions are profoundly more deplorable when considering the lack of federal aid—even when under a state of emergency—and the obvious racial constructs which our nation’s governing bodies choose to hold onto, in spite of the obvious ethical ramifications of their actions.

Tie this in with how media, political campaigning, and social image manufacturing may brush the ‘problem’ under the rug, and we have ourselves a truly hegemonic capital parading as good guy leaders we ought to trust and follow. This is a system designed to keep people down, and Attawapiskat serves only as a microcosm for the imperceptible damage across the nation being caused by this unassuming hegemony fueled by greed and corruption.

It’s unfortunate, to say the least, that we need films like these—genuine, ungreenwashed documentaries—to raise awareness about things which ought not only to be public information but public concern. That we don’t talk about these issues or teach them in our high schools is regrettable, as it may only be through such dialogues that we may open the blinders of the average media-influenced citizen in order to change the status quo of our ill-conceived nation and the hypocrisies which corporate and government alike undertake.

Thank you to the makers of this film, to the people of Attawapiskat, and to the few socially and environmentally conscious government officials who are trying to make a difference.

If you live in Canada, go see this film.

85/100 – Excellent.



About Kamran Ahmed

I have a Masters in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto. I work as a freelance writer and film critic in Vancouver. My writing is primarily distributed through Next Projection, an online film journal based in Toronto.
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