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Mud Plot Art by Rowan Red Sky

Mud Plot

Trees have a person-like presence in my Indigenous belief system, which is built on Haudenosaunee traditions and collaborative urban Indigenous community practice. Indigenous folks call Toronto, where I live, “The Meeting Place.” People from many different cultures come together here to share ceremony, songs and the teachings of everyday life. Trees live among us as conscious beings, capable of communication and mutual cooperation with the landscape and other creatures. They make community with human and other-than-human beings. Living in downtown Toronto is not living in a forest, but the city has its own ecology. 

Trees have a long history of mapping and storytelling. Traditional Anishinaabe songs, ceremonies and stories are recorded on birch bark scrolls. The scrolls have been interpreted and recreated over generations, much like how medieval European manuscripts have been copied by hand to pass down knowledge over centuries. In Haudenosaunee tradition, the eastern white pine is a ...

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