Several years ago, Paula Wild spent a month in the Bella Coola Valley. Afterward, she couldn't get the place out of her mind, and it ended up hugely impacting her life. She spent the next few years travelling back and forth between the comparatively bustling metropolis of her hometown of Courtenay, British Columbia and the rugged wilds of Bella Coola, interviewing residents and unearthing the history of this unique and unforgettable place. One River, Two Cultures is the result: a remarkable story of human endurance and of a people's relationship with the raw, physical landscape around them. Starting with the prehistory of the Nuxalk First Nations, Wild documents the arrival and impact of fur traders, explorers, gold seekers, the Norwegians who settled the valley in 1894, and the rough and ready mix of "outsiders" who embraced the challenges of living in a remote wilderness area.
One River, Two Cultures is a well-researched history told in an accessible, conversational style from the point of view of a visitor utterly swept away by the natural beauty of the Bella Coola Valley and the friendliness of its full-time residents. Illustrated with black and white archival photographs, as well as contemporary images, this book will take you to a place that is both striking in beauty and rich in culture.
"When Paula Wild first visited the Bella Coola Valley, she was swept away by the place's natural beauty and by the friendliness of its full-time residence...Tracing the history of the valley from its First Nations roots to its colonization by Norwegians in the late 1800s, right up to the area's present economic and political struggles, Wild's book examines how an isolated location was shaped by its inhabitants."
--Shannon Cowan, Times Colonist
"A superbly crafted regional history."
"One River, Two Cultures is eminently readable... It is a fine introduction to an isolated BC community with a very long history."
--Patricia E. Roy, BC Studies