Not everything is about settler culture…
… and its failures…
A Canadian Outpost in Vernon, Cascadia
… and all cultures hold an indigenous heart.
Any Celt Knows What to Do Among the New World Hazels of the Monashee Mountains
If we can set aside the re-creation of European indigenous life…
A Troll in the Ásbyrgisskógur, Ísland
…as fairytale, as was done during the Romantic period, in which elves and dwarves, trolls, ogres…
An Ogre (or a volcanic dike, if that’s your mythology) in the Suðurdalur, Ísland
…witches and other organic understandings of human-Earth relationships took on sentimental human form…
Umtanum Creek Canyon, Yakama Illahie
…and given to biology…
… we should still be able to read the rock as something more than mineral. It is the nature of being indigenous to be of a place.
This does not mean that one inhabits it solely as an isolated biological body…
…but that the place and you are also one. One of the consequences is that you will see your mind and body around you and read your thoughts out of the land
By moving across the land, you really move through it, and really are moving through yourself.
Summer Elves in Villingadalur
Itseyehyeh’s Fish Net on the Kooskooskie, Nimiipu’u Illahie
You can stop sometimes and have a look at what you, as the Earth, are thinking.
The simplest way is to read the stone, such as the cliffs at Ásbyrgi. It’s easiest if you remember that before a troll was a mythical, romantic being…
… it was a stone, or a person, anchored to a place and defining it. The understanding was that place has power.
Elf at Home in the pasture where the Iceland’s most beloved painter, Kjarval, learned his craft as a shepherd.
And not just as a romantic artform called “nature”.
The Columbia Gorge, Looking to the Cascades
That is beautiful enough, but it has a lot in common with romanticized, humanized elves and looks, most of the time, like fairyland.
It is, of course, but not literally. It is cartography. Lithography, let’s say. Or better, the writing on your bones. What is literal is the rock, and how you can read your thoughts there.
Complex thoughts of many kinds.
It is not an indigenous skill you lose by being placed outside of Europe.
Thompson Grasslands, Nlaka’pamux Illahie
Once you have seen through the romantic veil to that, you can relax and read the trees.
Your Sisters in the Ásbyrgisskógur, Ísland
And the forest floor. As any celt would.
Big Bar Lake, Cascadia
Such observations are usually called pre-modern thinking, but it would be both more fair and more generous, more respective of human nature, to call it non-individualized consciousness, or even earth consciousness.
Not a spruce tree and not fairyland. This is your body being conscious. You can learn to speak this.
And we need that. Saying that this is a human world, without including the world as human, will lead to more settler culture, and it lives nowhere.