"Shhh the berries will hear you!": Ethnobiology, Posthumanism, and Cree-Berry Reciprocal Relationships

Date and Time: 
Friday, 18 March, 2016 - 11:00
, Janelle Marie - McGill University; Athabasca University

Crees in northern Alberta, Canada tend to their relationships with the sentient landscape and its entirety of living beings through respectful speech, behaviour, and harvesting practices. Living beings who gift themselves have agency in deciding whether or not humans can encounter, harvest, and share their substance. As an ethnobiologist, Cree teachers work with me to record traditional environmental knowledge, including observations and indicators of change and contamination that result from large-scale industrial development of oil sands deposits in their traditional territories, so that we can co-produce ethnobiological results. From a post-humanist perspective, one might ask how 'more-than humans' experience the disturbance in cycles of respect, reciprocity, and reincarnation due to oil sands extraction. In this paper I will discuss how being a student of Cree ontology and ethnobiology has revealed some possibilities for how berries listen and respond to living in and on the edge of human-induced ruins.