Jordan Abel Interview 2: Clip 2
Jordan Abel discusses his fraught position as a both a displaced Nisga'a and urban Indigenous person. He muses on the idea of a "pan-Indigenous" community where displaced indigenous peoples could gather and recognise their shared inter-generational traumas while creating a space of belonging. Abel maintains that the goal is to "get back to community" and "get back to the land," but acknowledges that doing so is often difficult or the ways to do so are obscured.
Inter-generational TraumaLandscape / SkylineColonisation
Dr. Joanne Leow
University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon
Joanne Leow: You talked about that fraught relationship you have with your—understanding yourself as Nisga’a because of that intergenerational trauma. So, in the end, then, when you’re taking in the poles, or even when you’re more generally writing a space for yourself, right, in this Place of Scraps, what, then, does the space of Vancouver, with it’s ever-changing skyline, it’s ever-changing boundaries—because they’re reclaiming into like False Creek, right—what does that come to mean to you? You’ve been away for a while now. (0:32) Jordan Abel: Yeah, I guess there’s, there’s a couple things. So, if we’re talking about the lower mainland as being the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples, the way a lot of people have framed that, a lot of people who aren’t Musqueam, Squamish, or Tsleil-Waututh, have framed that, is that they are guests on that unceded territory, and thinking about Vancouver as a Nisga’a person who’s been displaced from the traditional Nisga’a territory, and is also an urban Indigenous person, I wonder about how that space, or how I circulate within that space, or do or do not belong, and whether I am a guest or am not a guest (laughs). I think it’s really complicated. I talk a lot about intergenerational communities, or communities of intergenerational survivors of residential schools, and pan-Indigenous urban communities, and the way I framed that in the past is that I see myself as being accountable to those communities. And I think that traditional space of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh people in Vancouver, is also a space for displaced and dispossessed Indigenous peoples who don’t have a home community to go back to, so is that space also their community? Are they permanently displaced? Are they always guests in that territory? And that’s something that I’ve been struggling with a lot, and a lot of Indigenous scholars talk about the importance of relationships to the land and relationships to your home community, and I, I’m constantly in this position where I’m wondering how to get back to community, and how to get back to the land, when that pathway isn’t always clear.