Long ago, survival was not easy for Alaska Native peoples, but they lived full lives. Today survival is easier, but many are dying young. We Breathe Again intimately explores the lives of four Alaska Native people who are determined to break free from personal histories of trauma and suicide.
Rarely heard of 40 years ago, suicide among Alaska Native peoples is now a silent epidemic — 3.5 times higher than the national average — and affecting Alaska Native men between the ages of 15-24 at the highest rate in the country. Alaska’s rate of alcohol-related deaths is more than double the rest of the nation, with Alaska Natives accounting for half of those deaths.
For centuries Alaska Native peoples survived the harsh conditions of life in the far north while their social, cultural, and spiritual practices thrived. In the 1700’s the battle to claim Alaska and its peoples began, first with Russia and then the United States, setting into motion disruptive changes for Alaska’s first peoples. The painful scars from colonization continue to cycle from one generation to the next. Faced with heartbreaking challenges, Alaska Native communities are striving to recover and regain balance.
In a landscape as dramatic as its stories, We Breathe Again intimately explores the lives of five Alaska Native people, each confronting the impacts of historic and contemporary trauma. Reflected in the northern lights and the city streetlights, from the ice roads to the asphalt, the characters battle for personal healing, hoping to break new trail for their families and their communities to follow.
A film by Marsh Chamberlain, Evon Peter, Enei Begaye Peter, and Ryan Jacobi.
Live Score, Composed by Paola Prestini
cello, guitar, vocal, violin, piano, percussions with Jeffrey Zeigler, Neil Duffalo, Dave Cossin, Nels Cline, Laura Ortman, Tanya Tagaq and Paola Prestini.