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Where Water Hits Home: Colonial Technologies of Violence on IBPOC Peoples and Nonhuman Nature in Canada

  • Author / Creator
    Tootonsab, Zahra
  • This research-creation questions and resists colonial technologies such as industrialization and urbanization that exploit environments and IBPOC peoples–Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour–as resources for colonial "progress." The research examines how nature and human relations intersect through three bodies of water in Canada: the Bedford Basin in Nova Scotia, Lake Ontario, and the Athabasca River in Alberta. The creation of the project uses different local sources (articles, reports, personal stories, creative writing, art) and various methods (erasure, redaction, cut-up, and layering) to engage in conversations on the prevalence of colonial violence in the three case studies. The section titled "Capture" uses Jennifer Wenzel's notion of the "improving eye" and explores how colonial technology can enclose a (wo)man's thinking of land and water as a standing reservoir for expropriating and exhausting under the guise of growth and improvement. The section titled "Rupture" is a poetic unveiling of how the "improving eye" disrupts nature by inflicting violence on Indigenous and minority groups. "Rupture," therefore, explores how research-creation can be a mode of resisting and undermining the "improving eye" of colonial technologies by bringing minority voices and decolonial conversations into the foreground for thinking with nature and communities affected by polluted waters/land/air. In "Rupture," the first set of poems describe the Bedford Basin. For roughly two centuries, raw sewage was discharged into the Basin, affecting the health and lifestyle of the Africville community during the 19th and 20th centuries in ways that continue to impact Black Nova Scotians today. The second set of poems discuss Hamilton Harbour's polluted water and its effects on the impoverished communities alongside the Harbour. The last set of poems address the Athabasca oil sands operations, examining the effects of its deadly toxins on groundwater and its impact on Cree, Chipewyan, and Métis territories downstream the River.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2021
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-kqg0-zr39
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.