visualeyez 2008/i dreamt i ran away from home (15)

July 20, 2008

day 7 today i walked on the south side of jasper avenue. visible signs of homelessness were less apparent. this is what is unfolding so far: the title of the work, “i dreamt i ran away from home” refers to the thought that if you live in canada and you are not of first nation descent chances are your ancestors came here to escape “something.” to a certain extent i think of canadians as run-aways in search of a home. for this project i am writing using the dream “form” that are not dreams in the night-time sense or in the wishing for sense, they are dreams in the way memory and dreams become spoken narratives of something that can not be verified through the sense of touch, taste, sight, or smell. i am speaking to the cree people, to the ancestors of the cree nation, who are no longer here. i am speaking from my subjective perspective (i as karen elaine spencer) as well as from my collective role as the colonizer, i am speaking of my actions, my understanding of what took place that created this context of this land now called canada. i am hoping to make a space where the weight of things can be felt and lived with for awhile without the wall of defense or self-righteousness being raised. i am incredibly saddened that in making a home for ourselves we destroyed the home of others. and by home i mean all the romantic stuff that home refers to: a space of belongingness, safety, and pride. a place that is always yours that you can return to.


2 Responses to “visualeyez 2008/i dreamt i ran away from home (15)”

  1. Nicole Fournier said

    Hi Karen, very much glad to read your blog, I like the connection of home to land and the colonizer and colonized, and the sensibility or empathy to both….and the relation of people coming to a new land to make a new home, and how we took over the home of those who were already here ….. I say violently, silently, slowly, and quickly, without knowing and with knowing, ignorant and not, how we did this…. I see it as complex, chaotic and messy, but done, with such rational, organized structure…and it is difficult to address. As well as me Nicole Fournier, speaking from my subjective and collective role as the colonizer, as a Quebecoise, Canadian, and with the guilt that I felt as a child and teenager as a white West Indian, with 5 generation on my mother’s side from the Caribbean, as a visible minority, (white girl), in Trinidad, Grenada, Antigua. I wanted to marry a black man, when I was a little girl, somehow, this was important, and I still have to figure out that innocent child and teenager desire. As one part of the collective role as colonizer, some (me) want to do something, perhaps, to bring back value to cultures we have destroyed, suppressed, made invisible, and taken credit for the knowledge they gave us, consciously or ignorantly.
    The colonisers where running away from their homes, … for all sorts of reasons, because they could not be at home in their land
    (europe & other). But the men leading the colonizing, the king, governers, those with the power to build railroads and boats and get capital, funds, etc, they were seaking, wanting to dominate new land, new home, not for home, but for …..

    So this very personal intimate action of “running away from home” that makes me think of a 5 year old, or 10, 15 or 16 year old, running away, or getting away from a home they dont want to be in, or even an adult who runs away from his or her own home, because, they just have to leave that context because it was no longer safe, for their spiritual, mental, soulful, wellness of heart survival, they leave… I am seeing how you make that connection to the colonizers, as all the people who left to come to “Canada”, worn, poor, lost, rich, well, sick, sad, hopeful, desperate, wealthy, happy… to that one person, the child or the adult who leaves home. And then I am seeing how you connect that to those (the Cree), who had a home here, who were invaded by the “runners away”, (putting aside for now the minority – the kings and queens who were the power to facilitate this process)

    ….I think of home, and what it means, or what it can be…. or what it is, without being able to control it, what it becomes, beyond what we can control it being. …. I think of memory and memories that arise, in association to place, how whether we try or not, those memories are very hard to erase or control, in particular the emotions that are linked to the memories. I feel the emotions of those memories, and the strength of the emotions make moments and periods of time, at times very hard to live.

    Karen, hope I did not comment too long, I guess you will decide if this all goes on.

    thank you for “I dream I ran away from home”, and for sharing the links you make and the continuity of your work. I could write more, but this is too long, and I think I could get corny, actually some things I feel about the ideas behind this are hard to put into words


  2. thank you so much for your beautiful and thought-full comment nicole.

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