Allison Brown
Dualist Thresholds

The concept of nature is fluid and flexible. The Providential perception of nature came with colonial occupation of North America. Nature was wilderness in need of taming and settlement. Bound private property was given by the government to those who settled and "utilized" the land. It was the same violent reasoning for the genocide and displacement of Indigenous peoples. The Romantic understanding of nature followed. A desire to connect back to an awe-inspiring, pristine landscape created by God. Nature shifted to be a place needing to be protected and saved from humans. This was the fuel for the establishment of the National Park movement, beginning in the United States. The Utilitarian perception was nature as hub of resources needing to to be managed and extracted for the greatest economic gain. Currently, the pervasive view is of a complicated and interconnected system. The word nature is shaped by society and in turn shapes society, entangled in a constant dialectic tension. The western nature/culture dualism that posits, results in conceptual segregation of humans from nature. This divide maintains a problematic colonial framing of landscapes. A dualism that has been activated as a means to violently remove Indigenous people, with long withstanding management and relations with their territories.

Continuing a trajectory of creating more National/Provincial/State Parks is rooted in nature/culture dualism and has a dark colonial underbelly. But maybe "we" still need these parks. These spaces have an important role. They provide those who feel otherwise disconnected from nature to re-connect with it. Parks are places we visit as guests, and the feeling of being a guest is an opportunity to reframe the threshold of entering the space.

How can reframing the threshold of entering/exiting the proposed national park in Osoyoos, BC complicate and messy the perception of parks as nature and thereby challenge the colonial nature/culture dualism embedded in them?



LARC 503 / 504