We are writing from this place and elsewhere, together. From spaces of appreciation for forms of slowness and speed once unimaginable. Where it is that the living, what remains, what returns, revives, come to meet us.
We were in need of the patience and observation that lends an ear to the friendly speech of the Blue Jay, Earth Worm, and Grasshopper. Like us, living-Earthlings are crosshatched with practices, relations, histories, and ways, as ways of living. From the wolf that leaves a trail of scat behind like an emblem, signifying to the whole of the cosmos its presence and intentions, to the beaver that constructs a world of possibilities to be shared with the trout and the moose. It is as diplomats that we have each respectively come to meet one another.
Yearning to join our states of becoming, becoming the ruby-throated hummingbird ourselves; our tools, materials, knowledges, and liveliness of spirit interwoven into an elaborate art of structure: metamorphosing the branch knot that we call "house" into a vernacular, a murmur from the Earth began to resound with a force greater than a July's thunder. We are beginning to hear living beings conspire, connect, and outline the advances of an all-too-powerful enemy. Their analyses, refined over the course of centuries by herds of caribou, are shared throughout the rest of the continent with Sturgeons, Wall Eyes, Women, Men, and children that travel from east to west by water or by land.
A friend recently said that there are two sides: those who fight on the side of death, and those who fight on the side of life. Here, we will attempt to give a voice to those who we know are tied to our lives and to those of our children.
June 21, 2021
A photographer in Saskatoon set up a Canadian flag along a pathway that beaver families use on a daily basis. He was hoping to snap a photo of the animal with the emblem of colonialism par excellence. The beaver had another idea in mind. They stopped in their tracks, looked at the camera, and then began to tear the flag down. After, you could see them as they hurried off with their war trophy. It was such that the beaver had also heard the calls of the hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en, one year before, to raise the blockades. #ShutDownCanada
September 27, 2021
Google was forced to admit defeat as it ceaselessly faced groups of crows that were continuously causing the company's delivery drones to break down. This time around, the crows were responding to the call of the residents of Bonython who, earlier this year, in fact, had claimed: if the government does not do something about them, that they would shoot them down.
October 29, 2020
A little moose was spotted on the lands where we live. It was a surprise, since the moose population here has been practically non-existent for the last thirty years. We were just getting back from a brief trip to Anishinaabe territory, visiting a family of traditionalists who taught us ancestral methods for making maple sugar. The Elder of the family taught us that they had signed an agreement with the government to implement a three-year moratorium on moose hunting on their territory. One year earlier, we stood by their side as hordes of white hunters and police cops had come to intimidate us, Forest Defenders. We sent a photo to our friends from La Verendrye, and this is how they replied: He's showing you respect...
We know that the young one came to celebrate the victory of the moratorium with us.
If we find it difficult to give a voice to non-human species with whom we are co-evolving, but that the intuition that it is possible to do so persists, it is because the Beavers, Moose, and Maples are always human. It is us who have ceased to be animal. One night, circling a fire during the blockade for the moratorium on moose hunting, an Inuit friend told us a story about a dream that he had had not so long ago: He was walking in the forest. Upon arriving with a river before him, he encountered a friend on the opposite side of the river. A discussion ensued. The two friends talked about the forest, clearcutting, colonization, and the horrifying suicide rate among First Nations youth. At the end of their discussion, as each took a separate path, a last question came to our friend's mind: What do we do about the White people? His friend replied: We have to remind them that they also come from the forest.
How will we remember tens of thousands of years of co-evolution? How will we remember the language that inhabits these lands, our sleeping bodies, and all of the living? A language that is made of time, of sharing, and of community...
Even if we experienced a severance when we ceased to be animal, it is always still possible to push ourselves to become interwoven. By developing relations with the peoples strewn across the forest floor. By (re)actualizing our treaty alliances with the Tree and Mushroom Nations.
We know that the animals and plants are responding to our calls, and that they will continue to do so. There is a contract that has been bonding us since time immemorial. To protect all life, no matter the cost. Many among us have forgotten it. In the times-to-come, we will do the work of remembering.