Dreams in a Northern Landscape: The Reoccupation of Canada's North
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The vision for this work first sprung from Farley Mowat’s book, Canada North Now, in which Mowat questions why Canada’s north has never been used for animal husbandry despite having the capacity for such a use. Harvey Payne’s study “A Feasibility Study of Northern Animal Husbandry a Land Use in Northern Manitoba,” written for the Department of Mines, Resource and Environmental Management, confirms northern Canada’s carrying capacity and consult with northern communities about the possibilities of introducing animal husbandry. The feedback provided in community meeting conducted by Payne, coupled with the initial success of reindeer husbandry in Alaska and the past success of reindeer husbandry has seen in Europe, has provided the backbone upon which this thesis is based. This work examines the natural feature and ecologies of the Northwest Territories and studies the history of the aboriginal people who call this region home. Inspired by Norval Morrisseau’s work, a series of paintings are created that explores the traditional meaning and cultural importance of life on the land. By taking a step back and looking at the principles of traditional knowledge, upon which satisfaction and pleasure are based on a close bond to ones family, and a close partnership with the land and other living beings, a proposal is made that offers an alternative lifestyle in Canada’s north. Through the introduction of reindeer husbandry it would be possible to live off the land in a manner that is more in tune with traditional values, while at the same time creating employment opportunities in northern communities. The proposal offers an alternative life style that is nomadic in nature, the design is a simple tent structure based on traditional vernacular architecture of the region, that can be manipulated to suit the users’ needs. A low-key meat industry would reshape the landscape in a positive manner through conscious consideration. The semi-permanent base of the structure would create new landmarks from which the cultural fabric can be hung. Unlike existing settlements that are based on outside ideologies, this design is intended to exist in harmony with traditional values and the existing landscape.