Barriers to Land Connection

I’ve had the discussion around Land Connection. When writing my business plan this summer, with three sons in my care 24-7. How I did that one: required the skills of a Marathon runner or swimmer. Up for air. Back down.

I’ve been asked, what is Land Connection. How do you explain Land Connection? What do you mean, Land Connection. Well first things first, Land Connection while living in the city can be difficult to do. Given our daily schedules, the time it takes to get from a to b.  Is it about how important it is to be outside that I am promoting, in a way yes. It is also about that feeling you have in the place you are. Research is showing that youth are spending way too much time in front of screens, as are adults. No one is interacting anymore? Or are they.  Families who move into the city can lack these true connections that are so valuable for ourselves. When we move to the cities, we also, are at risk for losing important connections and relationships. Yes, even our Elders say this.

I will now try and explain what I feel this means. I’ve definitely had experiences in connecting to places, and I know where that is and what that means. As an educator, mother and artist, I know this really matters. A lot. Backed up by research as well as in understanding how Land, or place, is a “third teacher” and Land is seen as integral in learning.

After I wrote my thesis in 2012, the story as I told in 100 pages or so is the Land is Significant for the youth who I spoke to, all 21 of them, in terms of their health and learning. This means learning is not just confined to classrooms. That learning is much more than just being on the Land as well. Learning needs guidance, community, clean beautiful spaces, atheistically glimmering places. Picture: mossy treed forests. Riverbed with rocks. Blues fading into blues. Swirly water.  Also learning needs our stories. For our stories are what has been here all along.

So consider this. Learning sites on the Land as identified by Pic River youth as places our ancestors have been for 10,000 years. 10,000 years later and the places still look and feel gorgeous. The energy received from laying on a beach back home can push you into self repair mode.  Conversations with family at the beach teaching us many things about our lineage and our stories. We see a retired chair. We remember the Elder who once sat in that chair overlooking the mouth of the Pic River.

Now take this same vision and apply it to Thunder Bay. Hmmm.. Three hours away from all that I know that youth related as being important to their learning and their health. Solution or answer. Find places in Thunder Bay that feel good. My quest for the summer was to write a business plan about Land Connection and than actually go out onto the Land and find these places. I ventured to a lot of places. Here is a list:

  • Little Trout Bay: about 45 min. south of Thunder Bay
  • Pic River: 3  1/2 hours east of Thunder Bay
  • Centennial Park: 10 minutes away and within the city but not the buslines
  • Seaman Park
  • Trowbridge
  • Thunder Mountain
  • areas along Lake Superior within Thunder Bay and around the area.

Barriers according to me:

Growing up in a place where shores seemed and are seemingly forever, it felt hard to “contain” myself. I felt the farther I went away from the Lake, the more I didn’t like the spaces? Interesting. Industry is hard to see beauty in. Which means, going to other places that will enable you to feel good.

What does this mean? well beSuperior was born. I started truly thinking about how the Lake brought so much to me. Including the ones I heard stories from. About the connection they felt to the shores or to the places. Like in other places I have been, there are always places of power and teaching places. In Alberta, the circles & tipi rings specifically Calgary on Nose Hill. Other areas too.

How is Land Connection supported?

Finding great sites. Knowing where these places are.

How is Land Connection held up?

  • A lack of access to places.
  • Lacking safety.
  • Lacking transportation.
  • Lacking knowledge.
  • Lacking resources.
  • Lacking knowledge about why Land is so important and spaces.
  • Having our traditional activities removed from our everyday lives.

What does this mean? Thesis where i seem my knowledge and business plan helping?

How we’ve been impacted as a whole as Indigenous people?

  • Globalization.
  • Marginalization.
  • Classicism.
  • Alienation.
  • These are large words for being displaced, lost, at risk, having our “authorities” taken out of our lives and our hands.
  • How we do reinvent this?
  • We need to build communities that put children at the centre.

How do we repair what has been lost, 

  • Foster Land based learning.
  • Find maps.
  • Adventure.
  • Explore.
  • Think about trees & then go find some. They need your CO2 and you need their O2.
  • Go by the water and collect things.
  • Bond with your children in beautiful places.
  • Good energy matters. Go where it feels good, though always consider safety first.

Most importantly, be.











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