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The Sacred Headwaters [Hardcover]

Wade Davis , David Suzuki , Robert Kennedy Jr. , Carr Clifton And Other Members Of The ILCP
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 14 2011

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.


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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

(2012-03-22)

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

(2011-08-05)

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

(2011-08-05)

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

(2011-08-05)

"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

(2011-08-05)

"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

(2011-08-05)

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

(2011-11-24)

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

(2011-12-08)

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

(2011-12-09)

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

(2012-03-19)

About the Author

Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. He is Companion to the Order of Canada and a recipient of UNESCO's Kalinga Prize for science, the United Nations Environment Program medal, the 2009 Right Livelihood Award, and Global 500. Dr. Suzuki is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and holds 27 honorary degrees from universities around the world. He is familiar to television audiences as host of the long-running CBC television program 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. His written work includes more than 52 books, 19 of them for children. Dr. Suzuki lives with his wife, Dr. Tara Cullis, and family in Vancouver, BC.



Wade Davis is Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and is the author of numerous books, including The Serpent and the Rainbow, One River, and the 2009 Massey Lecture, The Wayfinders. He has lived and worked in the Stikine as a park ranger, guide, and anthropologist since 1978. He and his wife, Gail, own Wolf Creek Lodge, the closest private holding to both the Sacred Headwaters and the proposed site of the Red Chris mine.



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.


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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is radical? Feb. 5 2012
By Friederike Knabe TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
"Radical? Lopping off the top of a moutain and pouring it down into a couple of lakes is radical. Trying to stop them is not." George Amos, First Nation Elder in Northern British Columbia and for over thirty years a leading voice for conservation in Canada.

George Amos's epigraph in "The Sacred Headwaters" could not be more pertinent. "Radical" has recently become a very loaded term in political discourse, especially in Canada, pitching environmentalists and other concerned citizens, especially First Nations communities, against politicians and big (oil) corporations. In his afterword to this book, Robert F. Kennedy compares the dangers to the pristine region of Northern BC where the three major rivers, the Skeena, the Skitine and the Nass - the Sacred Headwaters for local First Nations People - originate to those that led to the Glen Canyon being buried forever when a dam was built over the Colorado River back in 1963. Wade Davis, explorer in-residence at the National Geographic Society, is the author of 15 book, based on his research and travels in many parts of the world, most recently, Into The Silence, about the Mount Everest Expeditions by George Mallory and his team in the early nineteen twenties.

The Sacred Headwaters: The Fight to Save the Stikine, Skeena, and Nass is an attractive table top book with a strong message. Exquisitely photographed by Carr Clifton and other members of the International League of Conservation Photographers, the quality and expressiveness of their images alone keep you in awe: the pristine landscape, far away from any roads; the play of colours as they change through daylight hours, weather patterns and seasons; the contrast and interplay betweeen rolling hills and lakes, high peaks and deep canyons...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful scenes, script well written Jan. 31 2014
By pw
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
At the doctor's office I picked up a 2012 magazine, and it advertised this book. It was serindipity. In the spring of 2013 my brother's ashes were sprinkled on Kanaskan Lake. It was one of his favourite fishing locations. I knew nothing about the area. The photography shows the beauty of the headwaters. My brother died in 2008, and it wasn't until I saw this book that I felt at peace. The land needs to be preserved, not destroyed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars the Sacred Headwaters April 3 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a very special book, Its the kind you would want to share with others. the photography is spectacular.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Sacred Headwaters Feb. 9 2012
By Frank
Format:Hardcover
Great insight into what First Nations people have to endure in order to protect their lands, Excellent photography, would recommend to anyone
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