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