Presilience: Of Eggs & Baskets: Kathleen Dean Moore,
Up Here: Rebecca Hartwell,
Chilkat Style: Daniel Lee Henry,
Predawn / All Day Fishing, Cleaning Salmon /
The Homecoming: Sierra Golden,
Sleep Walking / Grace: Cedar Marie,
Paradoxes of Sorrow: Gary Holthaus,
From a Bridge Overlooking Indian River / Sitka Window / Berry Picking on Harbor Mountain: Robert Lee,
Bird / Elderberries / Eleven: Liz McKenzie,
Cover: “Silver Bay Midnight”: by Lara Kaltenstein,
“Recently, the Daily Sitka Sentinel printed a short announcement of a talk to be given by Nelson Kanuk, an 18-year-old student from the Yupik village of Kipnuk in Southwest Alaska, about his suit against the Alaska Department of Natural Resources over climate change. Intrigued, we went to hear what he had to say. Nelson is one of six young Alaskan plaintiffs who aim to force the State of Alaska to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as a means of protecting the state’s natural resources as required by Alaska’s constitution. Nelson and his fellow plaintiffs are being represented in court byOur Childrens Trust, an Oregon-based nonprofit that has filed suits for young plaintiffs in nine states. The Earth’s atmosphere is a part of the public trust, they argue, and governments have a duty to protect it…
…In July, 2012, the Institue hosted Resilient Communities: A Form of Creative Resistance, a three-day roundtable discussion… If we’d known Nelson Kanuk’s story then, we would have highlighted it. Resilience is all about the capacity to adapt to change. It can incorporate all kinds of creative means of adaptation as it steers, individuals, human communities, and ecosystems not just toward survival but the ability to thrive. Nelson’s family and ancestors have thrived for decades on the tundra and waters surrounding his village. Nelson and his young brother deserve the right to continue their culture’s lifeways in their ancestral home.
Whether of not they will succeed remains to be seen. Planetary threats from climate change are already taking their toll. Last summer, try as we might to keep our roundtable conversations focused on creative resistance and adaptation, we were faced again and again with issues of loss. We couldn’t avoid the shadows of helplessness, fear, despair. And still, another impulse moved us forward. Poet Wallace Stevens once called it “the necessary angel”–the power of the human imagination to push back against the forces of reality. It is our capacity for innovative thinking, the ability to reshape the stories that define our lives.
This necessary angel is at the heart of resilience in human lives and communities. It lit up Nelson Kanuk’s eyes, and is present in all the work featured in this issue of Connotations…