Robert Davidson in Times Square. (Tina Schliessler photo)

Robert Davidson in Times Square. (Tina Schliessler photo)

‘Haida Modern’ doc on Robert Davidson to stream online in June

Award-winning documentary will premiere on Knowledge Network June 2

“Haida Modern” will premiere on British Columbia’s public broadcaster, the Knowledge Network, at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2.

The feature-length, award-winning documentary on Haida artist Robert Davidson, directed by Charles Wilkinson, will also stream online for free on

The documentary features observations from Davidson himself as well as fellow artists, art historians, politicians, rock stars and family members who describe the impact of his work, beginning with the carving of his totem pole in 1969, the first one raised on Haida Gwaii in 100 years.

“Robert’s call, through his work and his words, to revisit the wisdom of his 14,000 year-old culture is especially timely given the pandemic currently roiling the global community,” a release said.

“A pandemic that by all accounts is very much related to our lack of respect for the natural world and its creatures.”

ALSO READ: Robert Davidson the focus of new documentary

In a phone interview, Davidson and Wilkinson also told the Observer they thought the premiere was timely given the pandemic.

“In the Haida belief system, as I understand it, man is not by any means the boss of the natural world,” Wilkinson said. “That means it’s up to us to treat our fellow inhabitants of the world with respect.

“When you think about the coronavirus, it would not have happened if we were treating the animal kingdom with … respect.”

Without pointing a finger at Wuhan, China, where the virus was first identified in December, Wilkinson said, “just in general the way that we treat industrial livestock” is difficult to defend on an ethical basis.

“It’s unnecessarily cruel and inhumane,” he said of caging animals and other practices.

“We should have been paying attention because the consequences are, as you can see, horrific.”

According to the BC Centre for Disease Control, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses found mostly in animals.

At the time of publication, the true origin of COVID-19 was not yet known.

ALSO READ: Murky mystery of COVID-19’s origins takes back seat in Canada to easing crisis: feds

Davidson said he was very concerned about the state of affairs in western culture, especially because he has five grandchildren.

“My concern is will the general population heed this major global warning? What more will it take to wake up?” he asked.

“People right now are talking about moving back to the economy. The economy that’s designed today is not working. What can we do to change that paradigm?”

The first step to make a change, he added, is awareness.

“COVID-19 seems to have pushed the pause button, which is what we all needed.”

ALSO READ: Haida Gwaii-based author releases ‘Great Grizzlies Go Home’ children’s book

“Haida Modern” won the Most Popular Canadian Documentary Award at the Vancouver International Film Festival last fall, and the Best Canadian Feature at the Available Light Film Festival in the Yukon. The film also opened the Kamloops Film Festival, closed the Victoria Film Festival and won Best Canadian Film at the 2020 Festival International du Film sur l’Art.

The film was produced in association with Knowledge Network, the Canada Media Fund and with the participation of the Rogers Documentary Fund.

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
52 positive COVID-19 cases now associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

Eight cases still active, 44 considered recovered

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
41 positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Cases have gone up in Northern Health in the past week, as they have all over B.C. (K-J Millar/Black Press Media)
Northern Health reports new highest number of COVID-19 cases in one day

Nineteen cases were reported to Public Health last Tuesday (Nov. 17)

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)
Non-profit buys Chinook ranch in hopes of increasing feed for southern resident killer whales

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon

Most Read