I think about resource extraction as a long-haul,
an expanding and growing economy,
but something that will wind down.
I want to be part of that winding.
Winding is perhaps a way then to counter expropriation
Winding, twisting and weaving are feats we must become comfortable with.
As extractive economies are unwound
the next step is reweaving new slower economies
I can remember about a year ago a shift
I stopped viewing cattails as an invasive species
I began seeing them as my relations, textiles, fire-starters and food
I wove my first basket but,
my mother told me I shouldn’t have to sew the seams to keep it from falling apart,
and that basket is fragile, it dried brittle and fry.
The next time I learned new techniques of weaving
I made my first true mat a few days later,
more time but less sewing
a strong vessel and a strong ecology exists around the slow.
Winding and weaving are negative feedback loops
and the extractive economy always wants new growth, and a higher GDP.
Positive positive positive
Hours, years and minutes are commodities to consume
When I met muskwig ‘birch trees’ for the first real time I was 19
I learned to introduce myself
it told me I must peel away nodular cycles of colonial time
it showed me how you decorticate
and that regrowth must take upwards of 20 years.
Maybe part of this is a realization that,
All solutions to this will take longer then my lifetime to grow
and what is harvested now should last until then.
In making these weavings and peelings
I am thinking about recirculation and flow
flux and current, and circles,
dressing and redressing.
I guess this is the spirit of a gift in the first place,
and these cycles are gifts from my relations.
these gifts contrast so harshly with wendigo foot prints offered otherwise
It’s like driving past a chainsaw cutting down second or third growth trees
I think about the trace smells of glysophate that cling in the air and to grandmother pine
Where on the ground will its big trunk fall and how long before it’s processed into boards.
Do they even care?
I get dizzy thinking of the crazed pace of the now
I feel comfort in knowing my migitjo lives in the big pine tree behind my mothers family home.
My bones ache for that tree somedays and so I know why I am here.
To witness the truth of others, and to weave my way to reciprocity and healing.
Grief and loss will be part of this master basket,
But in the way of changing forms,
and two spirits,
I can be an uncle, and an auntie
I will stretch my arms and hold my relations
Their fur is soft and black,
I feel the love of bark ridges against my finger pads,
sometimes if I press my ear to a white birch I swear I can hear it
the sound of the wind winding down,
and this is when you’ll see the cattail seeds leap into the wind,
for 21 years, for three cycles of seven I have listened.
with the ears of my mother Wendy Alexander,
and my grandmother Regina Barnaby,
and her mother’s mother Bridget Barnaby,
and when I listen close enough I can hear the voice belonging to Mary Sam of Big Cove.
I will continue for seven generations more.