Photo by Zack Embree
“Anybody who can throw a hatchet and sue you is a force to be reckoned with.”
-Bill McKibben on Caleb Behn, Fractured Land
Caleb Behn is a First Nations lawyer from northeast BC, specializing in environmental law and sustainability. He is Eh-Cho Dene and Dunne Za/Cree from Treaty 8 country – the front lines for Canada’s biggest natural gas fracking operations – and is working to defend the land from some of the most intense industrial activity in the world. He is the subject of the critically acclaimed documentary Fractured Land, which premiered at HotDocs on April 28, 2015. In it Caleb’s candid display of passion, procedure and purpose come to a head with the oil and gas industry in Treaty 8.
After finishing an undergraduate degree in political science with a focus on indigenous-state relations, Caleb was hired as the oil and gas officer for the West Moberly First Nations, and from there as the Lands Manager for the Saulteau First Nations, where he was in charge of monitoring oil and gas projects, assessing potential and real impacts to the ability of First Nation members to access the land for fishing and hunting, and dealing with litigation when rights were trampled upon.
Witnessing firsthand the devastating effects that the industries have had on the environment, coupled with difficult cultures clashes, Caleb was inspired to pursue a post-secondary degree focusing on indigenous law and political science. He graduated from the University of Victoria in 2012 with a Juris Doctor degree and is among the first University of Victoria Law students granted the Concentration in Environmental Law and Sustainability. Caleb has been an active voice in the Idle No More movement, and is currently a Research Associate for University of British Columbia’s Program on Water Governance.
His first book, The Tip of the Spear, which will be part memoir, part rallying cry to address our dysfunctional relationship to the land and to each other, is forthcoming with HarperCollins Canada.
The Tip of the Spear [Forthcoming from HarperCollins Canada]