This open public forum built off of an earlier CCENA panel at which presenter, Dr. Bonnie Freeman (Hodinohso:ni/Algonquin), urged us to think beyond people-narratives, to think instead of stories and narratives of the land. The focus of this discussion was on land as teacher, land as pedagogy. T2

Presenters included, Kaitlin Debicki, Kanien’keha:ka PhD student in English and Cultural Studies whose research focuses on trees as instructors in Haudenosaunee tradition, John Terpstra, poet and author who has written for many years about the natural environment in Hamilton and is currently working on “daylighting Chedoke Creek,” and Randy Kay who discussed his ongoing work on restoring the Ancaster Creek valley watershed and the MacMarsh initiative.

Kaitlin Debicki’s presentation was entitled “Yotsitsyonte O:se & ‘Going Back on their Tracks’: How Eastern Flowering Dogwood Taught Me to Be My Own Creation Story.” Kaitlin is Kanien’keha:ka, Wolf Clan, from Six Nations of the Grand River. She is a mother, a Kanien’keha language learner, a PhD student, and a tree-hugger. Her research is interested in how readings of both land and literature may increase awareness and understanding of Tewakatonhwentsyó:ni, Mother Earth as our shared matter.

Randy Kay’s presentation was entitled “Cold Stream of Consciousness: A story of McMaster’s Parking Lot ‘M’.” Randy Kay combines his non-academic local history research with an activists’ creative focus to bring about changes that enhance the natural world. He is fortunate to have a great network of people who make beneficial outcomes more possible. He blogs about it at Randy has an honours degree in English from McMaster, and he works at OPIRG McMaster helping students engage in meaningful social justice projects.

John Terpstra talked about his current writing project in the presentation “Daylighting Chedoke Creek: What the Water Says.” John Terpstra is a poet and author who has written on both the natural and the built geography of Hamilton, in Falling into Place and The House with the Parapet Wall. His current project focuses on a buried creek which runs through the west end of the city.