'DamNation': “Desert Goddess” Remembers Arizona’s Glen Canyon

This film contains images that may not be suitable for all audiences.  Viewer discretion is advised.

When the Glen Canyon Dam was approved in April 1956, a group of archeologists and river runners set out to document more than 250 culturally significant sites and 125 side canyons that would be flooded by the project. One of those river runners was Katie Lee, a folk singer and Hollywood starlet turned activist. As she describes, "We would go around a corner, and spread out before us would be this incredible site ... Everything was in the right position; everything was perfect." 

In this excerpt from the award-winning documentary DamNationfilmmakers Ben Knight and Travis Rummel interview the "desert goddess." Now in her 90s, Lee reminisces about walking naked through the enchanting landscape—"It was absolutely the most natural thing in the world"—and the significance of what was lost in the flood. "I don't think Eden could have touched Glen Canyon," she says. DamNation was produced by Matt Stoecker and Patagonia, and the full-length film can be seen through Vimeo on Demand.

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