Clayton Thomas-Müller’s complex and intimate short documentary Life in the City of Dirty Water is now available to watch through CBC Gem. His memoir of the same name will be released next year from Penguin Canada.

About the documentary:

Rooted in Indigenous storytelling tradition, Life in the City of Dirty Water is a series of intimate vignettes that weave together the remarkable life of Cree climate change activist, Clayton Thomas-Müller. The film plunges audiences into an immersive storytelling journey, discovering the people and places and traumas and triumphs that shaped Clayton’s identity and cosmology. These are impossible stories weaving together different roles: a Sundancer, a father, a husband, an abused child, a hustler, a leader. Stories that juxtapose Clayton’s rise as a prominent Indigenous campaigner (at the Indigenous Environmental Network, Idle No More, and with his raw and troubled journey of addiction, incarceration, healing, and forgiveness.

This 20-minute documentary follows Clayton as he journeys between audiences, between memories, providing an intimate and raw portrait of the storyteller. The themes in the film are nuanced and complex, tender and intimate: being Native in an urban city, coming of age as the first generation out of residential school, becoming politically active in an environmental justice movement. The film addresses colonization and displacement of Indigenous Peoples from our sacred land told through direct experiences of colonial trauma and healing. These are stories of feeling the pull of Creator and working to stop the destruction of Mother Earth. These stories are a man telling his inner child, “I’m here now and I’m going to keep you safe. I’m going to hold you close when there’s violence and nobody’s going to hurt you. This is my responsibility.”

To watch this moving and impressive work, please visit:

Clayton is represented by Carolyn Forde.