The Connections Between Individual and Landscape


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The land shapes individuals and it defines who they are.

The landsacape of anyone growing up shapes them into who they are. That is why the landscape people grow up in has a big inpact on their views and personality. The landscape acts as a community, not as people shaping each other, but for each person to see it a different way and to react. The people will more likely be more comfortable when the land surrounding them they undertstand and can nourish.

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Since the land is so diverse each person is shaped and formed to it in some way. Not everyone will have the same views but the impact each person has because of the land is large. Saul Indian Horse in the novel Indian Horse has a place in is heart for the land around him. He is being drawn back to the land during many parts of life, but mostly when he is feeling sad or lonely. He was abandoned by his family and was left with only is Grandmother and the land around them to support him. His family aslo had a special spot where only the Indian Horse could stay becacuse there was a presence that scared everyone else off. The land around Saul comforted him and gave him hope in a better tomorrow when thing were looking down.

The poem IMMIGRANT written by Rienzi Crusz sheds light on the matter of how growing up in a certain landscape physically forms an individual. Rienzi Crusz was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where rice and tea are grown. The countryside provides food which nourishes, supports and shapes the individuals living there. The author of the poem gives an example of how he is accustomed to his old appetites when he states “At forty, / the bone had set / hard as stone; / the belly conditioned / to rice, curry, and strong tea.”The speaker is revealing that his tastes have been established by midlife. As an immigrant he has a hard time adjusting to life experiences in a new land. In this case where there is ice and snow instead of a sunny landscape, he longs for the familiar. Not only is a body connected to its homeland and what it yields, but the mind is also connected to the landscape of home.

Indian Horse a novel by Richard Wagamese, explains how the landscape has a strong influence on emotions. When Benjamin escapes from a residential school, he joins his family on a canoe trip in pursuit of a better life. Along the way, he absorbs the sights and sounds of the river rapids and shoals. Saul, his brother, describes the scenery from the canoe: “The rocks lay lodged like hymns in the breast of it, and the trees bent upward in praise like crooked fingers. It was glorious. Ben felt it too. He looked at me with tears in his eyes…” As Ben returns to his northern Ontario homeland, his senses are overwhelmed by the beauty of the nature surrounding him. He is overcome with emotion. The landscape evokes memories and strong feelings.

Indian Horse a novel by Richard Wagamese, explains how the nuns at the residential school have a different perspective than the children. Their European heritage and landscape has shaped their beliefs, where obedience, structure and cleanliness are important. However, the Ojibway children come from a heritage steeped in nature. The author shows how Saul was distressed when he is bathed at the school: “They rubbed us nearly raw. It felt like they were trying to remove more than grime or odour. It felt as though they were trying to remove our skin.This bathing scene is an analogy for how the church tried to clean them of their culture and beliefs. Saul understands that his upbringing in the natural landscape of northern Ontario has shaped him. No amount of physical washing or indoctrination can strip him of his way of life customs. Deeper than skin

Landscape can act as a reminder of heritage. When Saul and the children are at the river catching fish “When they lay gasping on the grass, it was oursalves we saw fighting for air. We were Indian kids and all we had was a smell of those fish on our hands. We fell asleep that night with our noses pressed to our hands…there wasn’t a one of us that didn’t cry for the loss of the life we’d known before.” The smell of the fish on their hands was a reminder to the children of their previous life before the residential school. The scent evokes memories of their homeland in northern Ontario and how they used to clean and eat fish.

The article by Elijah Harper “What Canada Means to Me,” reveals how the land, trees, water, and wild animals made up his primary awareness when he was young. He knows that he belongs to the land in a deep and lasting way, rather belonging to the nation of Canada. Harper shares his vision for the unity of this land he is connected to. He believes that, “orginial people, have a greater responsibility than any other group to maintain the unity of Canada. He explains that the land is essential to the existence, philosophy, and way of life of his people, the First Nations. They have a special relationship to the land and with that comes the responsibility to share the land and its riches.

With a strong connection to the landscape that shapes a community, comes a strong desire to protect. The individuals of the Mohawk people of the Oka Community feel a strong connection to the land where their burial ground is located. The land they protect is a sacred place. In the documentary, 270 Years of Resistance ‘Minnie Garrow says, “We are native people to this land. We’re not trying to take your land or anyone else’s property…We were here to protect our burial grounds and the pines from a 9-hole golf course.’The Mohawk people are showing respect for their deceased members by fighting to keep a special memorial from being destroyed for a golf course. They stood up to the local government and then the army in order to give a voice to the land and those buried in it. This connection to the landscape gives them the strength to stand up for their convictions.    

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