Autobiography of an environmental activist

Author Thom Henley said Canadians should be proud of their ability to work together to change things

Thom Henley, known for his work with Indigenous people in Canada, including the 14-year mission to establish Gwaii Haanas National Park, is visiting the Prince Rupert Public Library for the launch of his new book Raven Walks Around the World.

The author and activist will speak about his autobiography at the library on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.

In an interview with Black Press before his book tour to the North Coast, Henley said that grassroots groups have the power to bring change to our communities.

The book details Henley’s life, starting in 1970 when at 22 years he left Michigan for the northwest coast, working odd jobs and taking advice from interesting characters.

In his story, he travelled by train and built a squatter shack along the West Coast. Then he meets a hippie named Stormy who directed him to Haida Gwaii.

READ MORE: THE INUIT ‘STORYTELLER’ PAYS A VISIT

While kayaking around the area, Henley noticed the clear-cut logging and destruction of ancient Haida sites. For the next 14 years Henley worked with the Haida in one of the largest environmental campaigns in Canadian history, leading to the creation of Gwaii Haanas National Park.

He was formally adopted by the Haida and bestowed with the new name “Yaahl Hlaagaay Gwii Kaas” (Raven Walks around the World).

“You know the chances of that happening were so slim,” said Henley about Gwaii Haanas.

“So if the Haida, especially Percy Williams hadn’t deferred logging for Burnaby Island, if it wasn’t for the citizen effort, that world class intertidal zone, all intertidal life, would be buried under three to five feet of dead trees.”

“The nation should be proud of it,” he said, about the fight for Gwaii Haanas or to save the Seven Sisters. “That’s where it should begin: at the grassroots local level, not environmentalist groups coming in from the big city.”

READ & WATCH MORE: HOMETOWN AUTHOR READS TO RUPERT CROWD

Canadians are incredibly fortunate compared to other countries in the world where the same thing is virtually impossible, said Henley.

The only place citizens are actually turning things around is from Vancouver Island up to Haida Gwaii and inland to Smithers, said Henley.

“You have to have meaningful input from citizens whenever they feel they’re being dissed from discussions, you have push back,” said Henley. “I think you would see a lot more cooperation if people felt their voices were being heard. It shouldn’t have to be this constant competition.”

The underlying question, he said, is what direction do we want to be going as a nation? Are we going to hang onto LNG or go in new directions?

Resource industry jobs aren’t the only jobs, he added.

Just because we have a lot of gas resources and fish doesn’t mean we take it all out to make an economy, said Henley.

“We need jobs but the boom-bust mentality is not a healthy one,” he said.



newsroom@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Stolen groceries, liquor store break-ins and assault

Prince Rupert police briefs for Feb. 11-18

Mayor Brain sees opportunity in Greyhound withdrawal

Greyhound to pull passenger service from Prince Rupert leaving no long-distance bus travel option

Canada Immigration responds to Haida basketball players’ detainment

Haida men from Alaska were detained after coming to Canada to play in the All Native Tournament

Rupert Rocket’s travelling art program

Jasper to Rupert Via Rail train has a car dedicated to art offered by the one-of-a-kind Bruce Brown

“Work with us,” Kaien Trails asks the public to stay off Rushbrook

Prince Rupert’s waterfront Rushbrook Trail is expected to be ready in the spring 2018

This Week Podcast – Episode 73

All Native Tournament results, auditions for Julius Caesar and avalanches closing Highway 16

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

$5,000 for All Native Tournament

The Northern View supports this year’s All Native Basketball Tournament with a cheque

BCHL Today: Merritt Centennials keep moving while Salmon Arm Silverbacks slide

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Former Canuck Roberto Luongo addresses Florida shooting victims

Parkland, Fla., resident, delivers speech before Florida Panthers’ first home game since tragedy

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Kelowna skier Kesley Serwa adds to Canada’s gold medals

Despite losses in men’s hockey and curling, Canadian women won medals in ski cross and figure skating

Suspected serial killer targeting Toronto gay community now faces six murder charges

Bruce McArthur now charged with murders of six men: Toronto police

Trump suggests more guns in schools to combat shootings

Trump floats two-step plan for gun control: More guns, more control

Second Russian athlete tests positive for doping at Olympics

Russian Bobsled Federation states a drug-test sample that pilot Nadezhda Sergeeva gave on Sunday was positive.

Most Read