by Jerry Alatalo
“River: The Life of Robert Lovelace” is a 25-minute documentary about Professor of Global Development Studies at Queen’s University in Kingston-Ontario Canada and political activist Robert Lovelace. There’s something wonderfully understated, refreshingly undramatic and non-intense about the film, so I thought it worthy and interesting for men and women who pass this way. Mr. Lovelace was born in Missouri to a white father and Indian mother.
He went to Canada at age 21 to avoid going to fight in the Vietnam War, which he perceived as colonial military actions by the United States government against the people of Vietnam – that the war was essentially going to involve the same horrific actions as those resulting in the genocide of American Indians.
After living in Canada and joining the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation tribe, Robert Lovelace along with others successfully fought for preservation of the ancient indigenous practice of harvesting wild rice after the government turned over those rights to a private company; he went to prison for 100-days in a successful protest against uranium exploration and mining on Native lands, and was part of a group of activists who organized a flotilla of boats traveling to Gaza advocating for an independent state of Palestine.
The short film is neat in that during half of the film Robert Lovelace shares the screen with his teenage son River who decided to base a school project, about someone the student knows personally, on his father. So besides telling Mr. Lovelace’s interesting life story and journey, viewers also see a father-teaching-son example which provides profound wisdom during the final moments of the film.
Mr. Lovelace supports what he calls “re-indigenization” or adoption of a philosophical, spiritual outlook that cares for and respects all people and the Earth’s environment. After reading the Quran and finding it made sense intellectually Mr. Lovelace converted to Islam.
I was pleasantly surprised, thankful and impressed after viewing the film, thought it was (for 25-minutes) perfect, and am happy to share this excellent documentary with all who pass this way.
(Thank you to Press TV Documentaries at YouTube)