British Columbia, Canada, 2016 - ongoing
The Sacred Headwaters of so-called British Columbia has in recent years become synonymous with the on-going battle between resource extraction and native land use rights in Canada. Providing the starting points of the Stikine, Skeena and Nass Rivers - three of Western Canada’s most prominent salmon-bearing watersheds - the cultural and ecological importance of this area has been highlighted by a decade-long fight by the Tahltan First Nation to defend their traditional hunting territory from a succession of mining giants including Shell Canada, Imperial Metals and Fortune Minerals. In a tentative victory, a grassroots gathering of Tahltan elders and community members successfully denied plans for the extraction of coal-bed methane and anthracite coal from the Headwaters, resulting in a moratorium on mining in the area for 10 years.
But despite this reprieve, every year, the people of Iskut are forced to watch an influx of resident hunters remove truck after truck of moose antlers from what was once pristine ungulate habitat and the herds of moose and caribou that Tahltan people once relied upon as a staple food source have dwindled. While the majority of resource giants may have been evicted from the area, the recently implemented Red Chris copper mine in conjunction with the negligence of the British Columbia government and BC Wildlife Federation to adequately sustain wildlife in this sacred place are threatening the Tahltan's cultural heritage and once again, Tahltan community members are forced to fight for this land from which we all live downstream.