Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Few young men find themselves torn between two radically different ways of life as violently as the Native American Clan Chief of the Kwakwaka'wakw Nation, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The young man in question skirted around the option of a traditional boyhood simply by virtue of his own birthright: he grew up as tribal nobility, the son of two Clan Chief parents (a mom and dad), and thus found himself earmarked from an early age as the scion of the Kwakwaka'wakw Nation - the one to whom the elders began to give all the elements and vestiges of a vanishing culture, with the hope and promise that he pass it on. At the hands of those elders, the individual was christened Kwaxsistala. Yet at the same time, Kwaxisistala experienced a strong pull in an opposing direction: the local Indian Agent arrived with the stated goal of wiping out the local culture, spreading Christianity, and (troublingly) forcing the Clan Chief to burn the tribe's houses and destroy its tribal costumes and masks - and promptly changed Kwaxisistala's name to the inelegant Adam Dick. Kim Recalma-Clutesi and Aaron Szimanski's documentary Smoke from his Fire etches out a portrait of Kwaxisistala/Adam at this critical nexus as he remains trapped between two diametrically opposed worlds.
culture [social culture], genocide, heir, Native-American, tribe