On National Indigenous Peoples Day, I always reflect on the reality that, in doing the work we do, we are working with land.
The historical, social and legal status of that land is complicated and, in many cases, troubling.
I live and work in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on unceded Algonquin lands. My livelihood is directly, physically tied to stolen land. In many other places in this country, we work with lands covered by treaties that have not been honored.
This map is a great starting point for finding the territories, languages and treaties of the places we live and work.
It can sometimes feel like there isn’t much for us, as individuals, to do with this reality.
As challenging as getting started can be, there are growing calls for learning more about the history and present of the places we live and the diversity of people and cultures that have the deepest roots in these places.
There is a lot of critical work that needs to be done to create ecosystem health in urban spaces. This is important, healing work that needs to be completed in partnership with soils, plants and micro and macro-organisms. We know that taking time to get to know the life we are working with is critical to practicing care-centered work with land. What many of are still in the process of learning about is the cultural and social ecosystem that we are working with.
The SOUL series on The Role of Horticulture in Cultivating Social and Land Equity explored a range of experiences and voices on land relationship, directly relating to landscaping and horticulture. The sessions were recorded and are available for viewing on the SOUL website.
In Urban Green Space and Land Access Isaac Crosby shared stories about his work and experiences in horticulture as a Black and Indigenous person and about his projects and plans relating to the Indigenous gardens he has been creating at Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto. If you don't have time to watch the entire series right now, this would be a good session to check out in honour of Indigenous Peoples day.
By taking the time to learn about the historical and present human relationships and experiences with the land and the spaces we work with and in, our work can also help to heal human and cultural ecosystems.
Happy Solstice Everyone,
The Canadian Society for Organic Urban Land Care