Peace River Rising


Helen Knott, a Dane-Zaa/Nehiyaw social worker, poet and activist, explores the connection between violence against Indigenous women and violence against the land.

Helen takes us through the dramatic changes she’s witnessed in her home territory. Woodlands she explored as a child have disappeared to make way for pipelines and housing developments to accommodate the influx of transient workers. Contamination from industrial endeavors has turned traditional activities — like berry picking — into potential hazards.

Helen explores the dangers of these industrial expansions, bringing to light the fact that Fort St. John, now primarily an oil and gas town, has a per capita crime rate that is nearly double that of Vancouver.

On the streets of Fort St. John, Helen and a fellow lifetime resident reflect on the overwhelming ratio of men to women in their city: what was once a city of familiar faces is now overrun with strangers who have minimal personal attachment to the area.

Helen shares personal stories about the violence she’s encountered and her beliefs about how important it is to give voice to these experiences.

She leaves us with a deeper perspective into why she does the work she does — and her hopes for a new world.