This blog will only interest oddballs (read: crackpot nut jobs) like me who research (read: obsess about) history and culture.
Feel free to move on if you think you're more normal, or if chewing on cultural history makes you want to eat dirt.
The deal's this: Ever since the BIG MOVE, I've been rifling through the litter of my past inside those cloning boxes of STUFF I can't seem to part with.
The latest find: A final draft of a term paper I wrote for a university course called Canadian Cultural Landscapes.
Divided Landscapes and Fragmented Identities
"At the intersection of identity and history around the time of Confederation, I find my narrative: myself, marginalized, fractured and fragmented. I am an Acadian Woman and from my maternal grandmother, the blood of my aboriginal sisters and brothers courses through my veins.
What then, where then, is my Canadian identity?"
I've spent countless hours watching the sun setting over the ocean by the Cape Breton Highlands. Many times, as I watched, I'd turn to peek at the Highlands and my brain couldn't fully grasp the multitude of hues shining through and in between the rocky crevices, the sublime play of light and shadow in the underbrush, and the sheer beauty of the place.
Unlike my father—who worked as a fisher in the spring, a government transportation worker in the summer and a woodsman in the fall and winter—I’m more a product of my time, urbanized and removed from the imminent dangers of Canadian wilderness. Although I returned to my hometown twice to work in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park (CBHNP), I've spent the greater part of my life contemplating nature's wisdom from behind a book cover or computer screen.
I've felt illiterate before my inherited Canadian landscape—in much the same way contemporary ecologists write about how society has come to feel in the face of the unfathomable environmental complexities nature presents us with.
The landscape of my home also holds many 'unfathomable complexities', and yet, every chance I get to go watch the sunset in the park I begin to feel reconnected to the vibrating heart of my ancestors and of my native landscape.
Read Excerpt 2
On Constructing a Common History
Full Final Draft (for the truly mad & Acadian history buffs only - it's academic!)
For those who prefer audio learning, and/or for a deeper analysis about expropriation and the politics of constructing cultural landscape, I refer you to one of the sources I cited in my paper, Catriona Mortimer-Sandlands, a professor for whom I have much respect and gratitude for taking the time to examine part of the cultural landscape of my fragmented identity.
The video is about 25 minutes long, but the first few minutes will give you a clear picture of the narrative that I've been contemplating for so long and which Ms. Mortimer-Sandlands articulates so well.
Listen to Le Petit Dérangement: Expropriation, Ethnicity and the Politics of Landscape in Cape Breton Highlands National Park by Catriona Mortimer-Sandilands
A final footnote from my paper that spells out my "perspective":
1 I’d like to note to the reader my struggle with the terms ‘ethnicized’ and ‘racialized’, both of which recur in the sources cited. I felt that using the term ‘ethnicized’ might appear weak or that I was glossing over racism. That is not my intention. I only utilized ‘ethnicized’ for the sake of clarity because the Acadians are not, in fact, a separate race. The ‘rationale’ used to try to exterminate us was based on our language and culture rather than our skin colour.
And now for the rest of December, I vow to be perky and full of cheer, imagine a twig alive with insects doing a square dance:)