This is the intriguing story of the Whale House heist.
The Whale House, in the Alaskan town of Klukwan, the epicentre of the Tlingit civilization, was carved by Tlingit creative genius Kadjisdu.axtc in the late 1700s. It is considered by many the Sistine Chapel of North American Native Art.
For centuries, museums and art dealers in the south coveted the treasures displayed in the Whale House, and these were eventually stolen and taken to Seattle. But after years of struggle, the Tlingit community won a landmark victory of Tribal Law: they regained control of their art, and the historic treasures of the Whale House were returned to Klukwan.
Through personal stories, this original, feature-length documentary explores various issues of cultural appropriation, especially the question of who has the right to represent Native cultures in the age of mass tourism and new-age spirituality.
With rare performances by renowned artists and luminaries from Alaska and British Columbia, the film introduces the artistic Native Renaissance of the Pacific northwest, demonstrating how this rebirth is helping Native peoples deal with the traumas of the conquest.
An original film by MARGARITA RAMON