Alaska (May 2017)
An exploration of the epidemic of suicide among Alaskan Native peoples.
Chamberlain’s film profiles four individuals personally impacted by suicide, a once rare occurrence among the Native people of Alaska, but which now is a leading cause of death, appearing nearly four times the national average. The experiences of an elder like Keggulluk address the consequences of colonial and racist policies like boarding schools intended to split up Native families and destroy culture and language, while the pervasiveness of intergenerational trauma is reflected in younger figures like Eddie, a young father determined to break cyclical patterns of abuse and pain. In speaking out about the taboo topic of suicide, they and the other subjects demonstrate the resilience and hope needed to help curb its devastating toll on their people.