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McMaster’s centre for narrative arts helping to tell and preserve Hamilton’s stories

Kaitlin Debicki talk one of three community-based narratives shared at a recent event hosted by the McMaster’s Centre for Community Engaged Narrative Arts.
 McMaster’s centre for narrative arts helping to tell and preserve Hamilton’s stories

Kaitlin Debicki (Kanien’keha:ka, Wolf Clan, from Six Nations of the Grand River) gives her talk, “Yotsitsyonte O:se & ‘Going Back on their Tracks’: How Eastern Flowering Dogwood Taught Me to Be My Own Creation Story.”

“When human beings gather in numbers in a location, in a natural environment, what they will do is obliterate that natural environment…but the landscape persists. It seems to be gone, but it’s not. It’s changed, but you can still call upon it. It still has a memory.”

This was how Hamilton poet and author John Terpstra introduced his story on Hamilton’s Chedoke Creek, buried decades ago to make way for the Chedoke expressway but which continues to flow underground down the west side of the Hamilton Mountain into Cootes Paradise – evidence that while altered, the natural landscape endures.

It was one of three community-based narratives shared at Stories of the ‘More-than-human-world,’ a recent event focussed on stories of the land and what the natural world can teach us.

The event is the latest in a series of public forums hosted by McMaster’s Centre for Community Engaged Narrative Arts (CCENA) that have, for the past year, been bringing together community groups, artists, individual community members, academics, and arts organizations to share stories from the Hamilton community.

“You can contribute a lot to the strength and vitality of a community just by saying, “What are its stories? Which ones do you know and how do we value those stories?” says Daniel Coleman, co-director of CCENA and a professor in the Department of English and Cultural Studies.

 

See the full story  here.