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Nature Environmental Conservation & Protection

The Sacred Headwaters

The Fight to Save the Stikine, Skeena, and Nass

by (author) Wade Davis

foreword by David Suzuki

afterword by Robert Kennedy Jr.

photographs by Carr Clifton And Other Members Of The ILCP

Publisher
Greystone Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Oct 2011
Category
Environmental Conservation & Protection, Regional, Rivers
  • Hardback

    ISBN
    9781553658801
    Publish Date
    Oct 2011
    List Price
    $50.00
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9781771640237
    Publish Date
    May 2015
    List Price
    $27.95
  • eBook

    ISBN
    9781553658818
    Publish Date
    Apr 2015
    List Price
    $24.95

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Description

In a rugged knot of mountains in northern British Columbia lies a spectacular valley known to the First Nations as the Sacred Headwaters. There, three of Canada's most important salmon rivers—the Stikine, the Skeena, and the Nass—are born in close proximity. Now, against the wishes of all First Nations, the British Columbia government has opened the Sacred Headwaters to industrial development. Imperial Metals proposes an open-pit copper and gold mine, called the Red Chris mine, and Royal Dutch Shell wants to extract coal bed methane gas across a tenure of close to a million acres.

In The Sacred Headwaters, a collection of photographs by Carr Clifton and members of the International League of Conservation Photographers—including Claudio Contreras, Paul Colangelo, and Wade Davis—portray the splendour of the region. These photographs are supplemented by images from other professionals who have worked here, including Sarah Leen of the National Geographic.

The compelling text by Wade Davis, which describes the region's beauty, the threats to it, and the response of native groups and other inhabitants, is complemented by the voices of the Tahltan elders. The inescapable message is that no amount of methane gas can compensate for the sacrifice of a place that could be the Sacred Headwaters of all Canadians and indeed of all peoples of the world.

The Sacred Headwaters, is a visual feast and a plea to save an extraordinary region in North America for future generations.

Published in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation.

About the authors

Wade Davis is professor of anthropology and the B.C. Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia. Between 1999 and 2013 he served as Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and is currently a member of the NGS Explorers Council and Honorary Vice-President of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Named by the NGS as one of the Explorers for the Millennium, he has been described as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity.” In 2014, Switzerland’s leading think tank, the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute of Zurich, ranked him 16th in their annual survey of the top 100 most influential global Thought Leaders.
An ethnographer, writer, photographer, and filmmaker, Davis holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his PhD in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. Mostly through the Harvard Botanical Museum, he spent over three years in the Amazon and Andes as a plant explorer, living among fifteen indigenous groups in eight Latin American nations while making some 6000 botanical collections. His work later took him to Haiti to investigate folk preparations implicated in the creation of zombies, an assignment that led to his writing The Serpent and the Rainbow (1986), an international best seller later released by Universal as a motion picture. In recent years his work has taken him to East Africa, Borneo, Nepal, Peru, Polynesia, Tibet, Mali, Benin, Togo, New Guinea, Australia, Colombia, Vanuatu, Mongolia and the high Arctic of Nunavut and Greenland.
Davis is the author of 275 scientific and popular articles and 20 books including One River (1996), The Wayfinders (2009), The Sacred Headwaters (2011), Into the Silence (2011) and River Notes (2012). His photographs have been widely exhibited and have appeared in 30 books and 100 magazines, including National Geographic, Time, Geo, People, Men’s Journal, and Outside. He was the co-curator of The Lost Amazon: The Photographic Journey of Richard Evans Schultes, first exhibited at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. In 2012 he served as guest curator of No Strangers: Ancient Wisdom in the Modern World, an exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles.
His many film credits include Light at the Edge of the World, an eight-hour documentary series written and produced for the National Geographic. A professional speaker for 30 years, Davis has lectured at over 200 universities and 250 corporations and professional associations. In 2009 he delivered the CBC Massey Lectures. He has spoken from the main stage at TED five times, and his three posted talks have been viewed by 3 million. His books have appeared in 20 languages and sold approximately one million copies.
Davis is the recipient of 11 honorary degrees, as well as the 2009 Gold Medal from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society for his contributions to anthropology and conservation, the 2011 Explorers Medal, the highest award of the Explorers Club, the 2012 David Fairchild Medal for botanical exploration, the 2013 Ness Medal for geography education from the Royal Geographical Society, and the 2015 Centennial Medal of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University. His recent book, Into the Silence, received the 2012 Samuel Johnson prize, the top award for literary nonfiction in the English language. In 2016 he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

Wade Davis' profile page

Dr. David Suzuki has made it his life's work to help humanity understand, appreciate, respect and protect nature. A scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, he is a gifted interpreter of science and nature who provides audiences with a compelling look at the state of our environment, underscoring both the successes we have achieved in the battle for environmental sustainability, and the strides we still have to make. Both inspiring and realistic, he offers leading-edge insights into sustainable development and model for a world in which humanity can live well and still protect our environment.

He is familiar to television audiences as host of the CBC science and natural history television series The Nature of Things, and to radio audiences as the original host of CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks, as well as the acclaimed series It's a Matter of Survival and From Naked Ape to Superspecies. David was the recipient of The Canadian Academy of Cinema and Television's 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award.

An award-winning writer and former faculty member of Harvard University, Tara Cullis has been a key player in environmental movements in the Amazon, Southeast Asia, Japan and British Columbia.

She was a founder of the Turning Point Initiative, now known as the Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative. This brought First Nations of British Columbia’s central and northern coasts into a historic alliance, protecting the ecology of the region known as the Great Bear Rainforest.

In 1990 Dr. Tara Cullis co-founded, with Dr. David Suzuki, the David Suzuki Foundation to “collaborate with Canadians from all walks of life including government and business, to conserve our environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through science-based research, education and policy work.” Tara founded or co-founded nine other organizations before co-founding the David Suzuki Foundation.

Tara has been adopted and named by Haida, Gitga’at, Heiltsuk, and Nam’gis First Nations.

Miriam Fernandes is a Toronto-based artist who has worked as an actor, director, and theatre-maker around the world. Recent directing and creation credits include Hayavadana (Soulpepper Theatre), Nesen, (MiniMidiMaxi Festival, Norway) The First Time I Saw the Sea (YVA Company, Norway). She is currently is co-writing/adapting for the stage the ancient epic, Mahabharata (Why Not Theatre/Shaw Festival), is developing a Deaf/hearing production of Lady Macbeth (in partnership with 1S1 Collective), and is the co-writer of What You Won’t Do for Love with Drs. David Suzuki and Tara Cullis. Miriam is the recipient of the JBC Watkins Award and was nominated for the inaugural Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize. She is also the co-artistic director of Why Not Theatre and has trained with Anne Bogart’s SITI Company, and is a graduate of École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris.

Toronto-based stage director Ravi Jain is a multi-award-winning artist known for making politically bold and accessible theatrical experiences in both small indie productions and large theatres. As the founding artistic director of Why Not Theatre, Ravi has established himself as an artistic leader for his inventive productions, international producing/collaborations and innovative producing models which are aimed to better support emerging artists to make money from their art.

Ravi was twice shortlisted for the 2016 and 2019 Siminovitch Prize and won the 2012 Pauline McGibbon Award for Emerging Director and the 2016 Canada Council John Hirsch Prize for direction. He is a graduate of the two-year program at École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq. He was selected to be on the roster of clowns for Cirque du Soleiiel. Currently, Sea Sick, which he co-directed, will be on at the National Theatre in London, his adaptation of The Indian epic Mahabarata will premier at the Shaw Festival, and What You Won’t Do For Love, starring David Suzuki will premier in 2021.

David Suzuki's profile page

"

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. serves as Chief Prosecuting Attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper and was named one of Time magazine's ""Heroes for the Planet"" for his work in the fight to restore the Hudson River. Kennedy has worked on environmental issues across the Americas and has assisted several indigenous tribes in Latin America and Canada in successfully negotiating treaties protecting traditional homelands. His published books include Crimes Against Nature (2004), The Riverkeepers (1997) and his articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, The Nation, Outside Magazine, The Village Voice, and many other publications."

Robert Kennedy Jr.'s profile page

Carr Clifton And Other Members Of The ILCP's profile page

Editorial Reviews

This visual feast and compelling text describes the Sacred Headwaters—where the Stikine, Skeena and Nass meet—which is under threat from industrial development and gas extraction. Stunning photographs from the International League of Conservation Photographers and National Geographic contributors provide an inescapable message of the importance of the area for Canadians and all peoples of the world. —Vancouver Sun

“The Sacred Headwaters is the Sistine Chapel of Canadian nature: astoundingly beautiful, awe inspiring, to be revered and never defiled. This book is its hymnal.” —Thomas Lovejoy

The book is a collection of photographs of the Sacred Headwaters, a valley that lies in a rugged knot of mountains in northern British Columbia and is home to three of Canada's most significant salmon-bearing rivers. Davis' compelling text, which describes the region and the current threats to it, makes it an expose of sorts. Davis calls it a 'love letter'to the country, and his message is undeniable . . . —Water Canada

Splayed next to southern Alaska, Canada's Sacred Headwaters region is a vast panorama of mountains, salmon rivers and canyons criss-crossed with the trails of caribou, grizzlies and mountain goats . . . as anthropologist and ethnobotanist Wade Davis explains, it could become a war zone. Corporations are queuing up to develop the region . . . Carr Clifton's haunting photographs evoke what's at stake. —Nature

“No one can question that this is First Nations land. This is sacred land. If mountains are broken down and lakes turned into tailing ponds, the risks that this could lead to a broad ecological catastrophe are obvious. If the First Nations whose land this is do not wish it tampered with, there is nothing more to be said.” —John Saul

“The stunning images and our struggle come together in this powerful call to action. We are all one. We must all answer.” —Sean Atleo

The Sacred Headwaters is not only an inspiring and provocative read but also a call to action to educate ourselves about what is happening in this incredibly valuable wilderness area of northern British Columbia. —Paul Gilbert

Davis, who is personally connected to the plateau through a fishing lodge on the Stikine that his family considers home, advocates for the preservation of the region's cultural and natural wealth, reminding readers of the tourism potential of a land 'that is as unique as any destination on Earth,' a wilderness he calls Canada's Serengeti for its great populations of Stone sheep, mountain goats, moose, grizzly bears, marmots and wolves. —Tyrone Burke, Canadian Geographic

These Sacred Headwaters are the lifeblood of our people. This water is a symbol of our unity as First Nations people. Just as this water will f low back into the three great rivers that sustain our people, we will return to our territories and protect our lands. At the Sacred Headwaters, we are drawing a line in the sand; this country bestowed to us by the Creator will be protected. —Rhoda Quock

Davis weaves eloquent text with full-page photographs of untouched natural wilderness, revealing his reverence for this region and his goal to take the viewer 'to realms of cultural [and natural] splendour so great that we will understand, finally, their value to the world.' —Janice Williams, Tri-City News

Other titles by Wade Davis

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Other titles by Robert Kennedy Jr.

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