Center for Cultural Preservation debuts river protection documentary

Press release from the Center for Cultural Preservation:

The Center for Cultural Preservation, WNC’s history and documentary film center, is proud to announce the release of award-winning film director David Weintraub’s new film on the ordinary people who did extraordinary things to protect southern rivers and streams. Guardians of Our Troubled Waters, is the center’s sixth feature film that connects people to their rich cultural and natural history. For most of the history of our region, native peoples had a deep spiritual connection to their rivers. The Cherokee believed that every body of water was sacred and they worked to protect the “Long Man” and his “chattering children” because they understood that what they did to their waterways, they did to themselves. Early settlers likewise followed in the footsteps of their native brethren. But in the Industrial Age, all bets were off. Logging, paper mills, tanneries and other manufacturing plants dumped their effluence directly into the nearest waterway, turning pristine streams into moving cesspools.

Guardians chronicles these stories and the early heroes who stood up against the destruction fighting against toxic pollution from factories, rampant draining of wetlands and the damming of tributaries that would have forced thousands of farmers from their ancestral land. The film focuses on three communities — Western North Carolina, East Tennessee and South Florida — as well as the heroes who stood up against those who were killing our rivers, including the savior of the French Broad, Wilma Dykeman; grand dame of the Everglades, Marjory Stoneman Douglas; and the protectors of the Pigeon River, the Dead Pigeon River Council and many others who carry on the fight today as the eyes and ears of our waterways.

According to Weintraub, “So much of what we take for granted today, whitewater rafting and kayaking, fishing, drinking water and the thriving brewery community harkens back to those who refused to allow profits to come before human health and the health of river ecosystems. These stories are vital because they remind us about who we are and why our natural resources are critical for our survival and that of our cherished wildlife.”

Guardians of Our Troubled Waters will have its world premieres on Thursday, June 20 at 7:00 p.m. at  Blue Ridge Community College’s Thomas Auditorium; Saturday, June 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the NC Arboretum; and Sunday, June 23, at 7:30 p.m. at White Horse Black Mountain. Tickets are $15 and $20 at the door, and advanced reservations are strongly recommended by registering online at or calling the center at (828) 692-8062. Music by Cherokee performer Matthew Tooni will open each program, and every screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director.

The Center for Cultural Preservation is a cultural nonprofit organization dedicated to working for mountain heritage continuity through oral history, documentary film, education and public programs. For more information about the center, call (828) 692-8062 or visit

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