Will’s Blog on the Train of Thought Tour

Beginnings.

It is Thursday, May 21st. I’m on the eastbound train, rolling steadily toward Winnipeg. This land I see through the windows is well and truly beautiful. There is a line from the movie Contact that keeps repeating in my mind. Jodie Foster’s character is looking out the portal of her space capsule. With tears in her eyes, struggling to put into words what she sees, she says, “they should have sent a poet.” I feel so privileged to live in this country and to call it my home.

So much of my personal aspiration on Train of Thought involves learning what it means to reconcile the understanding that I am a guest on this land—whether on Lekwungen and Coast Salish territory, or across the many traditional territories we are visiting—while also calling Canada my home. That particular paradox is just one of what seems like dozens of learnings that have been filling my days since I began this journey. Yesterday I was on the phone with Mia and I asked her to remind me how many weeks into the project we are. She explained that I’d left a week ago.

And now I look up again and see the afternoon sun over western Manitoba and it takes my breath away. They should have sent a poet.

I promised you all that I would be posting blog entries as I traveled from place to place and I have been woefully delinquent simply because we’ve all been going at such a pace, I haven’t had a moment to spare. Tonight I will try to make up for it by posting a series of blogs, back-dated from when we left Enderby/Splatsin. The stories of what happened up until then will be covered in my report on the TRACKS symposium. It was the official launch of Train of Thought—the Victoria activities were a sort of soft opening or prelude. I was invited to serve as co-rapporteur for the symposium, which began in Vancouver and then continued in Enderby/Splatsin. The other rapporteur is Kwasuun Vedan, Artistic Associate at Full Circle: First Nations Performance in Vancouver, who is from the Cree, Ojibwa, Saulteux and Secwepmec Nations. Kwasuun will be writing her own report on the Vancouver event. We’ll submit our joint report in the fall and I’ll post it here then.

More to come.

Onward!

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