Do Berries Listen? Berries as Indicators, Ancestors, and Agents in Canada's Oil Sands Region

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14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper I discuss how being a student of Northern Bush Cree traditions has revealed some possibilities for understanding how berries listen, and respond to, living in, and on, the edge of areas of extreme extraction. Members of Fort McKay First Nation and Bigstone Cree Nations tend to their relationships with the sentient landscape and its entirety of living beings through respectful speech, behaviour, and harvesting practices. The agency of those living beings is expressed through their decisions as to whether or not humans can encounter, harvest, and share in their substance. By examining relationships of reciprocity between the human and other-than-human animal world from a post-humanist perspective, this paper seeks to expand upon traditional indicators of contamination resulting from the large-scale industrial development of the Athabasca oil sands in First Nations’ traditional territories, and to value and share some observations and knowledge of Cree Elders and knowledge holders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-294
Number of pages22
JournalEthnos
Volume86
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Athabasca oil sands
  • berries
  • Northern bush Crees
  • other-than-humans
  • post-humanism

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