Living and travelling through parts of Western Canada in recent years, I have found myself both being deeply affected about the violence enacted onto the earth (and consequently, bodies as well), and marvelling at the sublime creation of the natural in my surroundings.
In thinking about how colonization is both historical and recurring, my place as an immigrant and settler, and reading the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (adopted exactly ten years before this work’s creation), I wrote this letter to and for the land. This work is an attempt to unpack my memory and experiences as an uninvited guest who decided to remain on unceded Indigenous territories and is committed to working against colonialism.
The title of this series is based on my referencing artist Ken Lum referencing former Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson (two other Chinese-Canadians from immigrant families) referencing the Stan Rogers song Northwest Passage. Rogers sings: “one warm line through a land so wild and savage.” Here, I use it to help counter traditional notions of Canada as ‘terra nullis’ (vast, empty, uninhabited land) and its colonial legacy.