The Land Where We Stand

Graffiti, based on a First Nations salmon design, on a roadway.

I try to keep the land in mind. It’s easy to get distracted by asphalt and concrete, by cars and people, and by the ideas we impose upon the places that we live. It’s why I get upset when I read about politicians in the Fraser Valley trying to rezone land in the Agricultural Land Reserve for more housing developments. It’s also why I’m trying my hand at square foot gardening in my own back yard. Cycling infrastructure, wilderness protection, and development downsizing are all examples of keeping the land (specifically its health) in mind.

But keeping the land in mind goes beyond protecting its physical reality. It’s also about keeping its history in mind. There has always been settlement in the region that’s now called Vancouver. The land I live on is Coast Salish Territory and it has a history beyond its colonial one. I keep this in mind, too, whether I’m thinking about political actions or community celebrations.

The photo at the top of this post is of some graffiti on a road not far from where I live. It reminds me of lost salmon streams and of the peoples who lived here before the pavement. They’re still here and the land I’m standing on is part of their still unceded territories.

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8 thoughts on “The Land Where We Stand

    1. I was travelling through the Fraser Valley again today. There’s so much development and so much of it is the same stores, repeated every few miles.

  1. This caused me to reflect on the petroglyphs in one the of the canyons that we visited last week in Nevada (especially the fish picture). Standing next to their “ancient graffiti” was a strong reminder on the importance of protecting our natural and historical treasures.
    It always makes me sad when I see sections of wilderness torn up here in the Northeast and turned into “rural” suburban developments.

    1. I can imagine how powerfully those petroglyphs would bring those thoughts to you.

      The same sort of development happens here, over wilderness and incredibly rich agricultural soil. It really is sad.

  2. Beautiful post Teresa! You live in such an amazingly gorgeous part of the world, I’m sure it is sickening to see others who don’t value the history and natural resources you have there. I feel that way about VA too and hate to see forest upon forest chopped down here.

    1. Thanks, Ryan. It is really terrible how much thoughtless development is happening here. I’m sorry you’re losing so much forest to it there, too.

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