Creative Journal #4

The prompt for the fourth visual representation was to explore a decolonizing encounter that we had experienced in our lives; a moment of unlearning or relearning. When I first thought of this prompt I had no idea what I was going to do. I honestly couldn’t think of a single life event that stood out to me. What I realized though, after thinking about it for a bit was that the growing up on a farm has filled me with a colonizer mentality. Due to this, I would say that moving away from home, and more specifically taking classes such as this one has allowed me to reflect on the majority of my life experiences. To try and represent some of the experiences that I am reflecting on I have created a collage file with pictures from my home.

The way that I arranged the images was meant to make groups of things that go together (overlapped). On the left there are three ‘artifacts’ from the farm; top to bottom we have a partial bison skull, then a stone axe head, followed by a butter press. When looking back and thinking of these items I remember that as a kid all three were on display in our house, but the significance of the items were never explained to me. As far as I knew all three were from the same time period and had the same amount of historical value. I am now beginning to release that it might not be the best practice to have all three items on display in the same space without at least acknowledging the distinct pasts that these items have.

The next group of pictures shows the wildlife that naturally exists in the space vs the ‘wildlife’ that is now living in the space. When reflecting on this I’ve come to realize that the relationship between farming and being environmentally considerate is a tough one to define. My family respects the land that we are on, we don’t overgraze and are as accommodating as possible to wildlife. At the same time though, we have to realize that by using this land to produce food we are displacing the wildlife that we often are trying to save.

The final row of pictures are to show the ways that settlement has altered the landscape. This is, once again, something that I have never given much though to before. After taking this class, along with INDG 100, it is hard to look at a space without thinking about how it was pre-colonization and what our responsibilities to this space are now that it has been altered.

In the end, I think that this reflecting process has created more questions for me than it has answered. My hope is that I can take these new questions and keep exploring me thoughts on colonization, environmentalism, and my place within it.

One thought on “Creative Journal #4

  1. This is a really vulnerable blog post that tackles a really difficult issue that many people, especially farmers/cattle-ranchers, would have difficulty exploring. It is difficult to take a step back and reflect on the effects that a person’s livelihood has on the earth. It is very difficult for people to remain objective about our place in the earth when your family can’t just stop doing what you’re doing and do something different. Acknowledging having a colonizer mentality is definitely a very important first step in changing the culture and lack of knowledge surrounding colonization of our country. I think asking these questions is a commendable step towards becoming a successful educator. Making sure to teach your students what you’ve learned is a really good way to give back and “relearn”.

    I really like how you organized your photos into categories as it makes them really easy to understand. It’s really clear through their organization how you are questioning and unlearning/relearning your place in colonization. It sounds like your family is conscientious about their effect on the land, but it’s great that you’re taking it one step further and realizing that it is in a colonial context. I also appreciated the realization moment you had about displaying these items in your home. I wonder whether you’ve considered if these items should be displayed at all. I probably would have displayed them as well, but I think it’s really telling that you have questioned their place as decorative objects.


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