Colville Tribes team with War Pony Pictures to tell Snʔayckstx (Sinixt) story ‘Older Than The Crown’

Documentary premiers in Spokane Feb. 8

Submitted by Neeka Somday

A new documentary, “Older Than The Crown,” follows the trial of Sinixt tribal member and retired Fish & Wildlife Officer, Rick Desautel, who in 2010 was charged with hunting as a non-resident and without a license in Canada.

Desautel harvested an elk on the ancestral land of the Sinixt people near Vallican, British Columbia. To the Sinixt, hunting on their ancestral land is a right gifted to them by Creator, but was made illegal in 1897. In 1956, to pave the way for hydro-electric development, the Canadian government unjustly declared them extinct in Canada, despite knowing that a large number of Sinixt were living on the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington State. The Desautel hunting case has not only allowed the Sinixt people to bring light to their unjust extinction by the Canadian government, but also to abolish it once and for all.

Rodney Cawston, Chairman of the Colville Confederated Tribes, is celebrating the release of “Older Than the Crown.”

“This documentary is a tribute to the strength and resilience of generations of our people who struggled against overwhelming colonial forces and fought for our very survival. Having at least part of our story finally told is very gratifying. For well over 150 years, the Sinixt have sacrificed and lost so much. Rick Desautel honors all of our ancestors and this film is for them,” said Cawston.

The world premiere of the 30 minute documentary, “Older Than The Crown,” is on Feb. 8, 2020 at 7 p.m. at the Garland Theater in Spokane, Washington. Canadian dates to follow. Advance tickets will be available Jan. 20 at 12 p.m. through for $5 which will include a free “Older Than The Crown” poster or at the door. All ticket sale proceeds will go towards “The Journey To Ottawa,” a fundraiser to assist tribal members, youth and elders to attend the Supreme Court hearing later this year.

Panel discussion to follow featuring: Rick and Linda Desautel Ceremonial Hunters, Mark Underhill Lead Attorney, Rodney Cawston Chairman of the Colville Confederated Tribes and Derrick LaMere Director/Producer.

Local showings after the premier include Gonzaga University, which will host a showing of the documentary and lecture on Sunday, Feb. 9 at 5 p.m. at Jundt Auditorium and Eastern Washington University, which will host a showing on Monday, Feb. 10 in the PUB (Nysether Community Room) from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Older than the Crown, a War Pony Pictures production is directed by Derrick LaMere and produced by Lamere, Shelly Boyde and Meghan Francis. Executive producers are The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

About the Colville Tribes: Today, more than 9,531 descendants of 12 aboriginal tribes of Indians are enrolled in the Confederated Tribes of the Colville. The tribes, commonly known by English and French names, are: the Colville, the Nespelem, the San Poil, the Arrow Lakes, the Palus, the Wenatchi (Wenatchee), the Chelan, the Entiat, the Methow, the southern Okanogan, the Moses Columbia and the Nez Perce of Chief Joseph’s Bands.