What are the challenges we face around water in Western Canada?
What are our rights to water? Does water itself have rights?
Water Rites: Reimagining Water in the West documents the many ways that water flows through our lives, connecting the humans, animals and plants that all depend on this precious and endangered resource.
Essays from scholars, activists, environmentalists, and human rights advocates illuminate the diverse issues surrounding water in Alberta, including the right to access clean drinking water, the competing demands of the resource development industry and Indigenous communities, and the dwindling supply of fresh water in the face of human-caused climate change. Statements from community organizations detail the challenges facing watersheds, and the actions being taken to mitigate these problems. With a special focus on Environmental and Indigenous issues, Water Rites explores how deeply water is tied to human life.
These essays are complemented by full-colour portfolios of work by contemporary painters, photographers, and installation artists who explore our relation to water. Reproductions of historical paintings, engravings and film stills demonstrate how water has shaped our country's cultural imaginary from its beginnings, proving that water is a vital resource for our lives and our imaginations.
About the authors
Jim Ellis is Professor of English and Director of the Calgary Institute for the Humanities at the University of Calgary. He has written widely on art, literatue and film, and has served on the boards of Truck Gallery and Calgary Cinematheque.
Helen Knott is a Dane Zaa, Nehiyaw, and mixed Euro-descent woman living in Fort St. John, British Columbia. In 2016 Helen was one of sixteen global change makers featured by the Nobel Women's Initiative for being committed to end gender-based violence. Helen was selected as a 2019 RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Author. This is her first book.
Nancy Tousley is an award-winning art critic at the Calgary Herald and also writes for publications such as Canadian Art, at which she is a contributing editor, and Border Crossings. She has organized exhibitions throughout Canada and contributed essays to numerous exhibition catalogues. Tousley has followed Takao Tanabe's work for more than twenty-five years.
Warren Cariou was born in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, into a family of mixed Métis and European heritage. He has written many articles about Canadian Aboriginal literature, especially on Métis culture and storytelling, and he has published two books: a collection of novellas, The Exalted Company of Roadside Martyrs (1999) and a memoir/cultural history, Lake of the Prairies: A Story of Belonging (2002). He has also co-directed and co-produced two films about Aboriginal people in western Canada’s oil sands region: Overburden and Land of Oil and Water. Cariou has won and been nominated for numerous awards. His most acclaimed work to date, Lake of the Prairies, won the Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize in 2002 and was shortlisted for the Charles Taylor Prize for literary nonfiction in 2004. His films have screened at many national and international film festivals, including Hot Docs, ImagineNative, and the San Francisco American Indian Film Festival. Cariou has also served as editor for several books, including an anthology of Aboriginal literature, W’daub Awae: Speaking True (2010), and he is the fiction co-editor of Prairie Fire. Cariou is a Canada Research Chair in Narrative, Community and Indigenous Cultures at the University of Manitoba, where he also directs the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture.
Interspersed with full-colour photographs, maps, and artwork, the chapters from fourteen contributors address a wonderfully wide range of water-related topics . . . By incorporating narratives documenting both pressing problems and collaborative solutions, the volume presents the reader with both a sense of urgency and the possibility of justice and change, bringing us one step closer to reimagining water in the west.
?Zander Albertson, BC Studies
Visually cohesive and elegant . . . recommended for anyone seeking to environmental studies work with Native perspectives and instructors looking for holistic approaches to environmental issues.
?Ellen Ahlness, Electronic Green Journal
Water Rights is an insightful, moving, beautiful book. Melding the scholarly with the narrative and the artistic, the volume provides a unique contribution to the literature around water security and well-being.
?Ingrid Leman Stefanovic, Great Plains Research
Other titles by Jim Ellis
Other titles by David Laidlaw
Other titles by Helen Knott
Other titles by Tasha Hubbard
Other titles by Nancy Tousley
Other titles by Charles Tepperman
Other titles by Warren Cariou
mahikan ka onot
The Poetry of Duncan Mercredi
Conversations about Indigenous Manhood
Colonialism in Canada
Indigenous Men and Masculinities
Legacies, Identities, Regeneration
Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water
W'daub Awae, Speaking True
A Kegedonce Press Anthology
Lake of the Prairies
A Story of Belonging