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Dr. Jan Peter Laurens Loovers (University of Aberdeen) ‘ Tracing Trails with Gwich’in: Poetics, Land, Memory and Well-Being in Circumpolar Canada’ (2010-2012)

This project deals with Peel River Watershed in northern Canada. The Watershed is the traditional area for the Teetl’it Gwich’in, with whom I have worked since December 2005, and who now mostly live further down Peel River in and around Fort McPherson. In the last decade, the increase of mining exploration and claims in the Watershed has led to a contested land use planning process in which the Yukon Government sides with the mining industry whilst the First Nations are aligned with tourist and environmental organisations as well as the broader public. The fellowship allows me to further my work on ‘reading the land’ and bring together poetics (language and song), the land (specifically the Peel River Watershed), memory, and well-being. Such ‘meshwork’ brings a different light to mining exploration, land use planning, and critical understandings of ‘terras nullius’ or ‘wild’ regions.