Statement (Short): Elegy for a Stolen Land
Forced by food shortages to emigrate, six generations ago my Scottish ancestors settled in Southern Ontario, a rich, natural environment that for millennia, and until not long before, had been homeland to successive waves of First Peoples.
When moving home after years in cities to raise a seventh generation in that same place I’d been raised, the sheer rapaciousness of human activity in Ontario’s countryside – the naked erasures of heritage, and our diminishing capacity for a secure local food supply– got me thinking about changes in the meaning of land.
How does one document shifting occupation? What is the distance from “earth mother” to “real estate”, and what evidence remains of aboriginal cosmologies or European animistic traditions, and colonial history? What are the implications for power over the cultural interpretation of land-human relationships imposed by such terms as “land use”? Which ways of thinking and being in relation to land are most suitable to sustaining life?