What follows is an old story that began long before I was born. Theft of land, capitalism, expansion, so-called development and “growth.” It’s all related, it’s all the same, continuing itself in different forms and ways. They call this progress. I refuse. I question their motivation, their reasons. I don’t buy into their “modern ideology” for a second. Their actions force me to question my own sense of belonging. The area is homogenized and sanitized; the familiar ripped down, deemed derelict, an eyesore or not modern enough. People who once made me smile; displaced, gone. Never to return to the place they called home, the place we once shared with passion and fury; those green rooms of solitude but the birds; the rivers music not yet drowned out by the sound of construction and cars.
Views considered sacred, open for all to enjoy, now commodified for a wealth driven, privatized environment. Million dollar condos chain others in different ways. They try to chain us, to outlaw a culture, making a way of life more difficult along the way; feeding into the division of those who belong and those who do not through legislation. They manicure, sanitize, homogenize that which brought us here, destroying its soul in all its glory. Pave and build, pave and build, the same as everywhere else. Need it be so?
A truck loaded with soil raped from another part of the earth just drove by, a pile driver thunders itself into the manmade land mere meters from the ocean. As they prepare for this so-called “waterfront renaissance,” my heart feels a thundering ache. Oh Ch’íiw̓es, former marshland, so-called Nexen, you have been badly abused, wounded and poisoned. You deserve so much better. A complete reversal, a true revitalization. Healing. Like a beaten human, non-pristine nature deserves love too. A voice. Even wastelands can heal. But my words fall on deaf ears. Those capable are unwilling. Blinded by the almighty dollar. I remain uprooted. Tossed around until the next soul who they can better benefit arrives; those more willing and able to play this dangerous game that they have created.
Thanks to the Squamish Arts Council for the support in this ongoing work.