Gem State Roundup

Nez Perce Tribe’s award-winning film on salmon conservation now streaming on PBS

By: - November 13, 2023 4:00 am

The film takes place in parts of Idaho, including the Salmon River near Riggins. It also explores the cultural significance of Chinook salmon and the health impact that dwindling salmon numbers have on tribal members. (Anteia McCollum/Idaho Capital Sun)

The Nez Perce Tribe’s award-winning documentary, “Covenant of the Salmon People,” is now airing on Public Broadcasting Station KBTC, according to a press release from the Tribe.

The film started airing this month, which is Native American Heritage Month. 

The 60-minute documentary looks into the Nez Perce Tribe’s ancestral connection with salmon and its commitment to restore the endangered fish despite challenges posed by dams and climate change.

Where to watch

  • It will be broadcast at 9 p.m. Nov. 19 on Idaho Public Television’s Idaho Plus Channel, channel 4.2 in the Treasure Valley.
  • To watch the film online, click here

After premiering in Lewiston in May, the Tribe and environmental advocacy groups have hosted screenings across the Northwest to raise awareness of the role that salmon play in their culture. 

Directed and produced by Emmy Award-winner Shane Anderson of Swiftwater Films, the film recently won the “Things to Consider” award and top three “Overall Film” at the Friday Harbor Film Festival.

Nez Perce Tribe Chairman Shannon Wheeler said in the press release that the goal of the film is to bring awareness to the role that salmon play in the Tribe’s identity.

“If we had the time, we would prefer to talk to every individual personally, this film is the next best option to convey this message,” he said. “The film eloquently tells the story of our commitment to protect and advocate for salmon, who, in their generosity, have ensured our survival. Our creation story is a testament to this covenant, and we continue to honor it as our sacred obligation.”

The Nez Perce Tribe, with the support of environmental groups and U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, has led efforts to breach the lower Snake River dams. Located in Washington, breaching those dams would remove a barrier of the structures so water would flow around the dams making it easier for salmon to migrate. 

“Without salmon, we, the Salmon People across the Northwest, lose an integral part of our culture and identity,” Wheeler said. “It’s time to take significant steps to preserve this vital species from the brink of extinction.”


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Mia Maldonado
Mia Maldonado

Mia Maldonado joined the Idaho Capital Sun after working as a breaking news reporter at the Idaho Statesman covering stories related to crime, education, growth and politics. She previously interned at the Idaho Capital Sun through the Voces Internship of Idaho, an equity-driven program for young Latinos to work in Idaho news. Born and raised in Coeur d'Alene, Mia moved to the Treasure Valley for college where she graduated from the College of Idaho with a bachelor's degree in Spanish and international political economy.