New Way of Life

Second post!

It hasn’t even been a week, and I’m already quite at home in Skidegate. Our house is bright in the day, quiet at night, and we have a great veranda on which to ponder the stars – and it is decorated with art, photography, and local history.
On Friday, our introduction from the Haida Gwaii Semester Program was heartfelt. We heard from various staff members and previous students who shared our excitement, and were welcomed to the Islands by an elder and the Chief of one of the indigenous Haida clans. They blessed our journey here, and I was left entirely humbled, and very grateful.
You can learn more about the Haida Nation right here.

Saturday was going to be trip north, about 100 kilometres to Masset, but unfortunately our bus was growing quickly unreliable so we had to turn back. It was still a great trip though, I got to better meet with some of my new classmates while enjoying a great beach hike. They’re awesome, friendly, and well-travelled – I have much to learn from all of them!

Class began on Monday, diving right into some of the historically-constructed dialogue we have used to describe ourselves within natural spaces, like those of Haida Gwaii.  I’ve already completed one of our first assignments, and I feel I am in for some wicked new perspectives this semester. It should be a good one!

A view of Qay’llnagaay.
A view of Qay’llnagaay, where our classroom is located.

In my fashion of doing two or more things at a time, as I write this I’m also working on a few letters, and intermittently sketching my first attempt at Haida-inspired art. The museum at Qay’llnagaay carries a teacher’s curriculum surrounding traditional art of the Haida and other Indigenous west-coast cultures. It breaks down the use of colours, shapes, recurring patterns, and rules of creation, all which govern the tradition of art itself. After class, I eagerly purchased and read the curriculum in its entirety, now slowly designing my own piece. It’s a bit of a challenge and intensely mathematic – we know how much I rock at math – and I’m having a blast. Will definitely post something, once I have something post-worthy!

Always something to be writing!
Always something to be writing.

Yesterday, I went with some new friends into to Queen Charlotte City, to set up our post boxes and do the inaugural beer-run of the semester. There is an epic sense of community here, strengthened by the beauty and richness of the land. The inconsiderate effects from a shitty plan like Enbridge’s remain publically under fire throughout all of the communities here, and it is refreshing to see people angry and motivated about an issue of genuine importance.

Community resistance to this threat to their way of life is ample, and garners support from around the world.

“Let’s keep the North Coast tanker free. Dilution is not the solution to oil pollution.”

It is painfully clear that Enbridge and transportation of dangerous materials do not belong anywhere near Haida Gwaii.

They have such a good reason to fight.
Not only is the natural beauty is continuously astounding, but the land and sea give so much back that survival becomes lush. The water is rich with seafood and kelp, the land with deer, mushrooms, and berries. I’ve even been told that after storms, you can go down to the beaches and leave with an armful of fresh seafood stirred up in the chaos. Pretty unreal, and completely infathomable after any environmental damage caused by a wrecked tanker.
This is a shot I took at the Balancing Rock. If you want to feel some cool vibes, you should come hang out at this spot for a while. The local elders recognize this as one of the region’s many ‘power spots’, and you can feel the mysticism anytime the tide is low.

Natural energy.
Natural energy.

So after an awesome lunch at The Purple Onion Deli, and a short hike through the forests up behind the town, my roommates and I hitch-hiked (the best way to get around and meet folk!) home to Skidegate to get started on our readings.

The distance into the city from our house is a longer journey on feet or bike, about 12 kilometres, so travelling gives plenty of time for contemplation, reflection and appreciation for the surroundings. Everyone should get to experience this level of serenity.
It feels like my mind can take the time to reorganize a few boxes in its garage – you know?

Well, tomorrow is a Wednesday, which means we don’t have class until 1 o’clock. I’m planning to haul my ass out of bed, and down to Balancing Rock to watch the sunrise tomorrow morning, presuming it’s not raining too hard.

Will update again soon – be kind and stay awesome!

One thought on “New Way of Life

  1. I was getting my monthly masage/physical therapy in Des Mioines, south of Seattle last night. I noticed an Emily Carr print hanging in the hallway. It was all totem poles and a longhouse. My grandfather use to fix her car at his house out on Interurban in Saanich. My dad hated it when she visited cause her pet monkey would always bite him. With not much money, Carr always paid my grandfather in paintings. He would roll them up and shove them in the rafters of the garage. Makes me wonder if they are still there…


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