The Canadian ideology of wilderness is two-sided. On the one hand, the untouched nature, represented more or less abstractly, is Canadians’ spiritual soil, our true north strong and free, our strength, our virtue, our potential as a nation, etc. At the same time, the actual wilderness is a testing ground for our lumberjack virility. The wilderness is a gym, and the land itself makes us strong.
Hidden between the two poles is a strange Indigenous presence that is everywhere and nowhere on this ideal terrain: our wilderness recreational activity emulates and embodies what our symbolic adoption of the land as “untouched nature” erases. […]