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.