Conceiving Kakipitatapitmok: The Political Landscape of Anishinaabe Anticlearcutting Activism



ABSTRACT  Landscape anthropology has explored relationships between peoples and places as well as culturally specific ways of experiencing and imagining the world that infuse these relationships. Departing from Kakipitatapitmok, the site of a direct-action blockade maintained at Grassy Narrows First Nation since 2002, I employ analytical frameworks inspired by the landscape genre to consider the physical and conceptual “place” of Anishinaabe anticlearcutting activism. I draw on the Grassy Narrows case to suggest that when considered from an emic perspective, the landscapes we encounter are very often politically constituted. As a distinctive new way of being and relating within their boreal forest homeland, anticlearcutting activism has transformed Kakipitatapitmok into a politically charged vantage point from which Grassy Narrows activists comprehend, configure, and communicate their place in the world. I advocate for an anthropological conception of landscape that can account for activists’ experiences of environmental injustice and their ongoing efforts to overcome it.