My M.A. thesis research, Unsettling Inner Landscapes: Critical Spirituality and the Poverty of Whiteness (Trent University, 2020), storied my journey to decolonizing my settler sense of identity and belonging. Recent climate scientists, Indigenous resurgence scholars, and psychologists have variously indicated that we need a transformation of consciousness in order to address the cultural and spiritual forces at the root of our current environmental, interpersonal, and individual crises of disconnection. My research is in direct response to diverse calls for this paradigm shift, including the words of Elders such as the late Grandfather William Commanda who encouraged settlers such as myself to ‘remember our original instructions’.

 

I was supported through shared conversations and collective action by Anishinaabe-kweg with whom I work and learn from in community as part of the Sacred Water Circle, Nibi Emosaawdamajiig, and Community Voices for Manoomin in Nogojiwanong, Peterborough.

 

Through an anti-colonial and trauma-informed lens, my goal has been to strategically inform my roles and responsibilities in healing the disconnection and abuses in what I term the trilogy of my relationships to self, others, and Land. Recovering a sense of my Celtic epistemology and story work is offered as a strategic exemplar of how settlers might begin to remember and co-create more balanced, respectful, and reciprocal relationships with and within place. Nurturing an embodied spiritual practice of deep listening, critical self-reflection, and collective action is discussed as potentially central to sustaining a decolonizing praxis for white settler Canadians more broadly.

 

Building on this work, throughout my doctoral work with the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton University, I hope to explore more about the nature of the intersectional traumas experienced within settler colonial systems as well as how this trauma may affect the nature of our relationship(s) with and within place. I am interested in contributing to new ontologies of recovery that are rooted in relational ecologies.

My research agenda is concerned with exploring how trauma-informed, anti-colonial, and relational pedagogies can be productively applied to heal local environmental devastations and to mitigate the ongoing effects of climate change.

I am interested in how stories might serve as a vehicle for shared collective memory and as the connective tissue for emotional and spiritual regeneration between humans and the more-than-human world. Through critical, collective, and sensory ethnographies as well as participatory action research across cultural and colonial spaces, I investigate how the experience of ecological restoration projects might serve as sites of personal and interpersonal healing and/or as public spiritual practice. 

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Current Academic Work

 

book "The Poverty of Whiteness"

coming 2022

I am beyond humbled and excited that the response to this work has been so overwhelmingly positive! It makes my heart burst with hope and joy that so many people of all intersectional identities are engaging with these ideas and seeking more and more ways to live with greater integrity, relational accountability, and joy in service of all Life. We are in the process of abracadabra-ing my thesis into a book for a wider audience.

I will be sure to let you know as things develop.

In the meantime, let's stay connected on social.

 

Follow me @AleyahErin