Graduation Year

2021

Graduation Month

May

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

School or Department

Environmental Studies

Major

Environmental Studies

Faculty Mentor

Dan Spencer

Faculty Mentor Department

Environmental Studies

Faculty Reader(s)

Dan Spencer

Keywords

settler colonialism, storytelling, sense of place, connection to land

Subject Categories

Environmental Studies | Illustration

Abstract

These essays and illustrations are informed by the question of how to form meaningful connection to place and care for a place when that land is colonized; when the creation of this place is rooted in harm. The purpose is to explore questions that have arisen during four years of Environmental Studies education. I want to learn what it means to be an environmentalist – to have a deep respect for the land and its inhabitants in a manner that extends beyond conservation – a relationship centered around respect, intimacy, and reciprocity. I want to understand if it’s possible to have that relationship to the land in this society – in which our current relation – of greed, misunderstanding and individualism is underscored by violence and genocide. How might we learn to live without furthering harm?

Drawing from life experience, extensive research, learning over the past four years at the University of Montana, and assistance from a mentor, I am spending the spring semester writing a collection of essays.

I was inspired to research the topic of sense of place and colonization after learning from Native people in the Navajo and Hopi Nations during a semester with the Wild Rockies Field Institute. During four years of EVST classes, I have always wanted to learn more about the root causes of the ecological crises in the United States, many of which stem from colonial ideologies that persist today. The Davidson Honors College capstone gave me an opportunity to dedicate a semester to learning about this. I am hoping that this project will inspire others with settler colonial histories to explore their own connection to land and place and the histories that have shaped their identities in relation to the land.

Honors College Research Project

Yes

GLI Capstone Project

no

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