Getting into the Field
27 Aug 2020

Getting into the Field

27 Aug 2020

Getting into the Field

By: Isaac St. John


My time is up!! I am finally able to get out and be in the field, as well as work with artifacts!! Walking my tribal lands really brings a sense of home to my heart, as I haven’t been able to do so in nearly five years. Going out abroad to learn and build skills for use back home is nice and all, but it really makes you yearn for where you’re from. Seeing, smelling, hearing, and feeling all that there is on the land brings me back to when I was younger and not really appreciating what I was in. But now, with all the growth I’ve done, and still more to come, I can see and say that I am truly gifted with some beautiful landscapes.

Maliseet tribal land

All of this to say that correlating reports of lofty terms and special jargon to seeing and being on the land that they are talking about makes processing the information all that much easier. Not only can you see the features around the recorders speak about, but you can also imagine the things, like temperature and noise, the investigators felt, as well as possibly seeing trail the people took through nature to get there. Not only putting yourself into those shoes of the investigators, but also into the shoes of the people, the ancestors that have lived there before you. Trying to figure out why they would choose that spot over another, figuring out what they were exactly seeing to make that spot special, imagining the smells and sounds and questioning if they were the same during their time. It is both a lesson in imagination and time travel to do this work, as you can only know so much about a spot, but through traditional knowledge, you know it all. What plant does what, what fish swims where; those things change from time to time, but overall, they’re still there from time immemorial. It brings a tear to my eye to make that connection to my people throughout time and space and see how they thought about an area by seeing that they lived there for years upon years upon years. 

The Meduxnekeag River

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