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Paul Colangelo June 7, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Canada.

Iskut River, British Columbia 2010

Paul Colangelo (b. 1980, USA) is a documentary photographer focusing on environmental issues and wildlife. For the past five years he has worked on a long-term project called “Our Home and Native Land” that looks at how cultural and wildlife hotspots across Canada are affected by the nation’s expanding resource industry. Paul is a National Geographic grantee, a member of the International League of Conservation Photographers and was included among PDN’s 30. Paul has worked with National Geographic News, BBC, WWF, Canadian Geographic and Orion.

About the Photograph:

“This river begins in the Sacred Headwaters. Back in 2004, very few people outside of the Tahltan First Nation had ever heard of this area. On maps it wasn’t labelled nor delineated—it was hidden in the vast wilderness of northern British Columbia. Back then it wasn’t even called the Sacred Headwaters. It was known as the Klappan. But this type of name, with its multiple pronunciations and lack of obvious meaning, wouldn’t serve well in a conservation campaign. So the Tahltan settled on the Sacred Headwaters—their best effort to convey the importance of this place to their ecosystem and culture. Their campaign was launched in response to Shell gaining tenure of about a million acres in the Klappan for a coal-bed methane development.”

“For nearly a decade, the Tahltan Nation and its supporters fought to get Shell out of the Sacred Headwaters, and in 2012, they actually won. A small remote community took on one of the world’s largest corporations and won. Along with other photographers, I did what I could by photographing the Sacred Headwaters to bring it into the living rooms of people who would never go there themselves. The goal was to encourage them to raise their voices alongside the Tahltan. Unfortunately, less than a year after this success, a coal mine was proposed for the very same place that Shell just vacated. The Tahltan are once again fighting for the Sacred Headwaters.”