Keynote Speakers

Rick Bass

Rick Bass is an award-winning western and environmental writer. Born in 1958, Bass was influenced by his Geologist father. He studied at Utah State University, earning a degree in petroleum geology. Bass began writing short stories on his lunch breaks at work as a petroleum geologist. In 1987, Bass made a critical move to the Yaak Valley in Montana with his wife, where they have since raised their two daughters. Bass soon received the PEN/Nelson Algren award in 1988 for his short story “The Watch."  Recently, Bass was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award for his work Why I Came West. Bass also participates in the Yaak Valley Forest Council and Round River Conservation Studies as a strong environmental advocate. He is the author of over 20 books, listed below.

Bass' work integrates three vital elements of this year's "Resilient Headwaters" theme: ecology, community, and the individual. Bass has focused on the importance of keystone predators, through his compelling descriptions of grizzlies and wolves at the heart of wilderness and ecological resilience. In discussing community resilience, he enlivens discussions of local sustainable logging at the edge of wilderness areas in an era of economic recession. Bass demonstrates personal resilience as a writer participating in environmental politics, conveying a refreshing honesty of the self-sacrifice required in struggling for meaningful change. In his keynote address, Bass will read from his work and weave these three elements of resilience, discussing what it means to live in a Headwaters area that necessitates the practice of resilience for a sustainable future.

 Collection of Published Work: The Wild Marsh: Four Seasons at Home in Montana (2009), Why I Came West (2008), The Lives of Rocks (2006), The Diezmo (2005), Caribou Rising (2004), The Hermit’s Story: Stories (2002), Colter: The True Story of the Best Dog I Ever Had (2000),  Fiber (1998), The New Wolves: The Return of the Mexican Wolf to the American Southwest (1998), Where the Sea Used to Be (1998), The Sky, the Stars, the Wilderness (1998), The Book of Yaak (1996), In the Loyal Mountains (1995), The Lost Grizzlies: A Search for Survivors in the Colorado Wilderness (1995), Platte River (1994), The Ninemile Wolves (1993), Winter: Notes from Montana (1991), Oil Notes (1989), The Watch (1989), Wild to the Heart (1987), The Deer Pasture (1985)


Enrique Salmón

Enrique Salmón (pronounced sahl-móhn), is a Rarámuri (Tarahumara). He feels indigenous  cultural concepts of the natural world are only part of a complex and sophisticated understanding of landscapes and biocultural diversity, and he has dedicated his studies to Ethnobiology and Traditional Ecological Knowledge in order to better understand his own and other cultural perceptions of culture, landscapes, and place.

Dr. Salmon’s recent studies have led him to seriously consider the connections between Climate Change and Indigenous traditional food ways.  In order to maintain the sustainable food producing capacities of many landscapes to produce wild and cultivated foods and livestock is to secure a future for the land and people. Increasingly, the scientific majority agrees that Global Warming will negatively impact the planet’s ability to feed exponential human population growth.  As a result, we need to look to places of hope and resilience or solutions to how to adapt to these Earth Changes and continue to feed human populations.  Indigenous homelands are regions noticing the effects of Global Warming, but also able to possibly offer solutions for ways to feed the planet due to the resilience of traditional food ways worldwide.  Food ways are connected to every element and process of sustainable bio-cultural diversity meaning that all facets of sustainable food ways, including cultural expressions, landscapes, education, leadership development, networking, and policy, should be understood and supported.  Dr. Salmon has completed a book focused on small-scale Native farmers of the Greater Southwest and their role in maintaining biocultural diversity.  It will be released by the University of Arizona Press in 2011.

Enrique has a B.S. from Western New Mexico University, an MAT in Southwestern Studies from Colorado College, and a PhD. in Anthropology from Arizona State University.  His dissertation was a study of how the bio-region of the Rarámuri people of the Sierra Madres of Chihuahua, Mexico influences their language and thought; poisonous plants used for medicine was the focus for the study.  During his doctoral course studies Enrique was a Scholar in Residence at the Heard Museum.  Enrique is on the Board of Directors of the Society of Ethnobiology.  Enrique has published several articles and chapters on Indigenous Ethnobotany, agriculture, nutrition, and traditional ecological knowledge.  He is Director of American Indian Studies at Cal State University East Bay.