– Spring/Summer 2017

Fish, Kin and Hope: Tending to Water Violations in amiskwaciwâskahikan and Treaty Six Territory

Zoe Todd

Plastiglomerate sample/ready-made, collected by Patricia Corcoran and sculptor Kelly Jazvac at Kamilo Beach, Hawaii, 2013. Photograph: Jeff Elstone. Courtesy Kelly Jazvac

We as humans live in a very narrow spectrum of ideal conditions. Those ideal conditions have to be there for us to exist. That’s why it’s very important to talk about ecology, the relationship. If those ideal conditions are not there, you and I are not going to last for very long. Just text Neanderthal. Ask the dinosaurs. What happened to them? We asked one of our elders, ‘Why did those dinosaurs disappear?’ He thought about it for a while and he said, ‘Maybe they didn’t do their ceremonies.’

– Leroy Little Bear1

On 21 July 2016, Husky Energy Inc.

  1. Leroy Little Bear, ‘Big Thinking and Rethinking: Blackfoot Metaphysics “Waiting in the Wings”’, lecture at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Calgary, 1 June 2016, available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_txPA8CiA4 (last accessed on 15 November 2016).

  2. Carrie Tait, ‘The Husky Spill’, The Globe and Mail, 27 August 2016, available at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/husky-oil-spill-has-critics-questioning-independence-of-saskatchewans-regulatorysystem/article31585612/ (last accessed on 6 November 2016).

  3. Elizabeth McSheffrey, ‘Feeling Neglected by Husky, First Nation Crowdfunds to Clean Up After Oil Spill’, National Observer, 23 September 2016, available at http://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/09/23/news/feeling-neglected-husky-first-nation-crowdfunds-clean-after-oil-spill (last accessed on 6 November 2016).

  4. Richard Van Camp, in an interview with Shelagh Rogers on The Next Chapter on 11 August 2014, referenced a story in his book Godless But Loyal to Heaven (2012), which is also printed in the anthology Dead North, “On the Wings of this Prayer”, a fictional tale which posits the Alberta Tar Sands as ground zero for a future/present zombie outbreak. In an earlier, but now archived, interview with Rogers from 10 June 2013, Van Camp explored the ways in which the Alberta Tar Sands feed, or operate through similar logics to, a kind of insatiable windigo/witiko spirit. The interview is available at http://www. cbc.ca/radio/thenextchapter/august-11-2014-january-2014-encore-1.2732866?autoplay=true (last accessed on 21 November 2016).

  5. L. Little Bear, ‘Big Thinking and Rethinking: Blackfoot Metaphysics “Waiting in the Wings”’, op. cit.

  6. See Heather Davis, ‘The Queer Futurity of Plastic’, lecture at the Sonic Acts Academy, Amsterdam, 28 February 2016, available at https://vimeo.com/158044006 (last accessed on 5 November 2016).

  7. C. Tait, ‘The Husky Spill’, op. cit.

  8. Even if George could not live with horses the way he had as a child, he found a way to right the erasures of Indigenous human-horse relations within the prairies. This is instructive for me as I formulate artistic and philosophical responses to the devastation of water-worlds in my home province.

  9. My ‘Fish pluralities: Human-animal Relations and Sites of Engagement in Paulatuuq, Arctic Canada’, Etudes/Inuit/Studies, vol.38, no.1–2, 2014, pp.217–38.

  10. My ‘From fish lives to fish law: learning to see Indigenous legal orders in Canada’, Somatosphere: Ethnographic Case Series, 1 February 2016, available at http://somatosphere.net/2016/02/from-fish-lives-to-fish-law-learning-to-see-indigenous-legal-orders-in-canada.html (last accessed on 7 November 2016).

  11. Val Napoleon, ‘Thinking About Indigenous Legal Orders’, research paper for the National Centre for First Nations Governance, 18 June 2007, available at http://fngovernance.org/ncfng_research/val_ napoleon.pdf (last accessed on 7 November 2016).

  12. Kim Fortun, ‘From Latour to Late Industrialism’, HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, vol.4, no.1, 2014, pp. 309–29.

  13. My ‘From fish lives to fish law’, op. cit.

  14. See H. Davis, ‘The Queer Futurity of Plastic’, op. cit.

  15. See Kim TallBear, ‘Beyond Life/Not Life’, lecture at UCLA Center for the Study of Women, Los Angeles, 5 November 2013, available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkUeHCUrQ6E (last accessed on 6 November 2016).

  16. See ‘Early Oil Sands History and Development’, Institute for Oil Sands Innovation at the University of Alberta website, http://www.iosi.ualberta.ca/en/OilSands.aspx (last accessed on 6 November 2016)

  17. See E. McSheffrey, ‘Feeling Neglected by Husky’, op. cit.