Independent Publishers Group Logo

Sign up today...
for featured pop culture and science reads, books for kids and teens,special offers, bestsellers, and more, in your inbox!

Subscribe to receive special offers, monthly books suggestions, seasonal selections, and more!

Spirits of the Coast
Spirits of the Coast

Spirits of the Coast

Orcas in science, art and history


216 Pages, 8 x 10

Formats: Cloth, EPUB, Mobipocket, PDF

Cloth, $24.95 (US $24.95)

Publication Date: June 2020

ISBN 9780772677686

Rights: WOR X CA

Royal British Columbia Museum (Jun 2020)
The Royal British Columbia Museum


eBook Editions Available

Will it work on my eReader?
Price: $24.95


An insightful collection exploring the plight, past, and promise of the orca

"A magnificent journey alongside orcas, bringing these beautiful creatures to life." —Jay Ritchlin, David Suzuki FoundationSpirits of the Coast brings together the work of marine biologists, Indigenous knowledge keepers, poets, artists, and storytellers, united by their enchantment with the orca. Long feared in settler cultures as "killer whales," and respected and honored by Indigenous cultures as friends, family, or benefactors, orcas are complex social beings with culture and language of their own. With contributors ranging from Briony Penn to David Suzuki, Gary Geddes and Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, this collection brings together diverse voices, young and old, to explore the magic, myths, and ecology of orcas. A richly illustrated literary and visual journey through past and possibility, Spirits of the Coast illustrates how these enigmatic animals have shaped us as much as our actions have impacted them, and provokes the reader to imagine the shape of our shared future.


"The authors take you on a magnificent journey alongside orcas, bringing these beautiful creatures to life. Numerous perspectives that intertwine science, traditional knowledge and personal experiences reveal how strongly we're interconnected with these majestic, intelligent neighbours that live in the Salish Sea. The emerging picture shows how orcas are an integral part of human existence and fuels my personal and professional passion to do everything possible to help them thrive. These stories seamlessly make the reader a part of the orcas' history and fate." —Jay Ritchlin, Director General, BC and Western Canada, David Suzuki Foundation

"In Spirits of the Coast...orca experts, artists, storytellers, and Indigenous wisdom keepers issue an invitation to understand, celebrate, and come together to protect these marvelous marine mammals." —Kristine Morris, Foreword Reviews

"This book is the perfect blend of science, history, art, folklore and culture. Orcas are a huge part of life on the west coast of Canada and Vancouver Island. The image of the Orca is ever-present. This book is a wonderful trip into the world of these magnificent creatures and what they have meant to us over time." —Charlotte Kinzie, Kinzie Things

"The book, which is both a history lesson and a proposal for the future, is packed with thoughtful insights, historical perspectives and traditional First Nations stories. It also visually shines, with a wide range of beautiful artwork and photography. It's that inclusion of visual storytelling that makes this book so accessible — and a great addition to any coffee table or bookshelf." —Vancouver Sun

"Its luminous, large-format pages offer everything from Haida storytelling to marine biology, all to show our too-often-ignored kinship with this astonishing animal." —Brian Lynch, Georgia Straight

"This book is not just recalling the history of relationship between humans and orcas but is laying the groundwork for deciding, each of us, what that relationship could look like in the future." —Amy Reiswig, Focus on Victoria

"Anyone looking for an introduction to the history, science and cultural significance of the orca could do no better than to start here." —Daniel Francis, Ormsby Review

"This 'literary and visual journey through past and possibility' is probably the best literary bargain you'll find this year. . . . It juxtaposes gorgeous photos with sketches, poetry, Indigenous stories and first-hand experiences and observations of experts." —Pacific Yachting

Author Biography

Dr. Martha Black has been the curator of Indigenous collections at the Royal BC Museum since 1997. She has a PhD in art history from the University of Victoria and an MA in interdisciplinary studies from York University, both focused on Heiltsuk art and museum collections. Before coming to the Royal BC Museum, she was curator and associate director of the Isaacs Gallery in Toronto. Dr. Lorne Hammond has been the curator of history at the Royal BC Museum since 1997. His research focuses on British Columbia's energy history. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Ottawa. Dr. Gavin Hanke is the curator of vertebrate zoology at the Royal BC Museum. He has described and named 10 new fossil fish species, works with Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans to document marine fish distributions, and is working on a series of papers detailing many new species records and species range extensions along the BC coast. Gavin also works with the BC Ministry of Environment to collect and monitor exotic vertebrates. Jack Lohman CBE is chief executive officer of the Royal BC Museum. Before coming to Canada, he was director of the Museum of London, chair of the National Museum in Warsaw and chief executive officer of Iziko Museums of Cape Town. Nikki Sanchez is a Pipil/Maya and Irish/Scottish academic, Indigenous media maker and environmental educator. She holds a master's degree in Indigenous governance and is completing a PhD with a research focus on emerging visual media technology as it relates to Indigenous ontology. For over a decade, she has worked as a wilderness guide, Indigenous environmental educator and decolonial curriculum advisor, and for two years she was the David Suzuki Foundation "Queen of Green."