Voices from the Barrens
Native People, Blueberries and Sovereignty
A film by Nancy Ghertner
“Voices from the Barrens, Native People, Blueberries and Sovereignty,” documents the wild blueberry harvest of the Wabanaki People from the USA and Canada.
The film focuses on the Passamaquoddy tribe’s challenge to balance blueberry hand raking traditions with the economic realities of the world market, which favor mechanical harvesting. Each August, First People of the Canadian Wabanaki, the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet tribes, cross the US/Canada border into Maine to take part in the tradition of hand raking blueberries with their Passamaquoddy brothers and sisters. This crossing to Maine’s blueberry barrens isn’t considered “agricultural labor,” but is a part of the traditional harvest from the earth.