Blunden Harbour


Robert Gardner, 1951

Runtime: 22 minutes
Made in collaboration with William Heick

In the late 1940′s Blunden Harbour was a small village on the coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia inhabited by a handful of impoverished families of Kwakiutl Indians who gained their meager livelihood from fishing and gathering.

Robert Gardner, then a graduate student of Anthropology at the University of Washington in Seattle, went to Blunden Harbour to do research for a major film project about the Kwakiutl about whom Ruth Benedict and Franz Boas had written so eloquently. In the course of his stay in the village, he he saw an opportunity to do a short, black and white sketch for a larger portrait of a people and a place. For this he invited William Heick to do the photography. The larger work was never done and Blunden Harbour remains one of the few authentic accounts of this once majestic people.

distributed by Documentary Educational Resources