Water will erase Newtok, Alaska. Built on a delta at the edge of the Bering Sea, the tiny Yup’ik village has seen melting permafrost, river erosion and decaying infrastructure for decades. Warming temperatures have turbo-charged erosion and the Ninglick River, once a mile away, now churns at the edge of the village.
The 360 Yup’ik residents face an unprecedented challenge: To keep their culture and community intact, they must relocate their entire village to stable ground upriver while facing a federal government that has failed to take appropriate action to combat climate change. To flee the land they’ve known for millennia would mean risking the future of traditional knowledge, language and cultural bonds.
Either way, the people of Newtok will become climate refugees. NEWTOK follows Della Carl, a single mother of three; Albertina Charles, a widowed community leader and teacher; and Andrew John, a former Marine tasked with helping relocate his community. It is a film about a village seeking justice in the face of climate disaster.