Keepers of the Land

In the heart of British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, one Nation is reclaiming the power they held for millennia. As the impacts of colonial exploitation and mismanagement take an increasing toll on their territory, the Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation finds strength in its stories and culture, emerging as a stewardship leader in a new age of reconciliation in Canada. A powerful story of resurgence, the weight of hereditary leadership, and the responsibility they carry into the modern world told through the eyes of elder and hereditary chief Nismuutk, Ernest Mason Jr., and the new young leaders following in his footsteps.


Directed by Deirdre Leowinata, Douglas Neasloss

Douglas Neasloss is the visionary elected chief of the Kitasoo Xai’xais First Nation, and the director of the Nation’s Stewardship Authority. Doug envisioned Keepers of the Land as an inspiration for his people and as a tool to show the world what is possible through re-empowering indigenous people, by showcasing in cinematic beauty his territory and the work his people are doing to protect it.

Deirdre Leowinata is an emerging director and cinematographer driven by a passion for strong multimedia narratives that address our relationship with the planet. Her formal background in ecology and visual communication instilled in her a rigorous commitment to evidence-based storytelling which she brings to every project she works on. She combines this formal background with a strong technical skill set in digital film and a knack for personal and evocative stories.


Deirdre Leowinata, Douglas Neasloss


Deirdre Leowinata, Douglas Neasloss

Key Cast

Ernest Mason Jr., Vernon Brown, Douglas Neasloss, Mercedes Robinson-Neasloss

Director Statement

For hundreds of years, colonial powers have exploited indigenous communities in North America and repressed their right to self-governance, but in a new age of reconciliation First Nations in Canada are taking back their power.

Using a combination of traditional stories and songs, interviews, and breathtaking natural history from Kitasoo Xai’xais territory, Keepers of the Land is an essential story of one Nation as told by its members, while it finds its voice and heals after centuries of struggle and oppression.

Echoing the stories of the elders and young leaders featured, this film blurs the worlds between humans and their environment, creating a holistic picture of what is possible under continuous indigenous stewardship of their territorial lands and waters, and touches on the true meaning of the hereditary system of government, a timely topic for which there is a serious dearth of information.

It is our hope that this film will be a source of pride for the community of Klemtu, and catalyze a tidal wave of true indigenous-led stewardship across North America.


Recipient of

Red Nation International Film Festival Nominee


March 1st – March 8th

Streaming Exclusively
Red Nation Television Network

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