The souls of Canadian folk: how the wilderness makes us who we are

This is a follow-up to a previous post called “Wilderness and Canadian identity.”

What that post found in our national and provincial parks, this one will explore at a psychical level. If our identities are tied to a particular conception of wilderness, what are the symptoms of this condition? How does the Canadian psyche operate under the influence of this concept?

Diagnosis, Symptoms, and Moving On […]

Wilderness and Canadian identity

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. […]

A Map the Size of the World

“Are you looking up where we’re going?” “Yes.” I show her the map. “Look, that’s where we’re going, and this is where we are now.” “Good, it’s not too far.” “Well, it looks close on the map, but it’s actually pretty far. It’ll take us another half an hour.” It’s the kind of explanation an adult […]