By Corri Lobbezoo
The Parlay: Folsom Lake College's Literary & Arts Magazine
Published May 2020
This poem was written after Lobbezoo's trip to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories in December 2019.
"It was breath-taking -- literally, because the cold wind took my breath away anytime I failed to wear the balaklava -- but also in its stark beauty."
The incredibly cold weather (-37°C) and the barren, snow-covered landscape stayed in Lobbezoo's mind and began to form into a metaphor of life after religion. "The Land" alludes to teachings of the Bible, The Minimalists, and Eckhart Tolle.
The Parlay is a print magazine and will be available online in Fall 2020. "The Land" begins with this line:
learning is unlearning.
It is a privilege to be included in The Parlay's first print edition. Warm thanks to Prof. David Lacy for his help.
"The Land" respectfully uses three non-English terms: Tinde’e, Sǫǫ̀mbak’è and Saa.
Tinde’e means "The Great Slave Lake" in Tetsǫ́t’ıné Yatıé, the language of the Tetsǫ́t’ıné (Weledeh Yellowknives Dene).
Sǫǫ̀mbak’è is what colonizers named the city of Yellowknife in Tłı̨chǫ Yatıı̀, which is the language spoken by the Tłı̨chǫ (Dogrib) Dene.
Saa is "the sun."
White settlers named the city Yellowknife after the local indigenous peoples who used copper in their knives and other tools. There are a number of indigenous groups who have sustainably lived in and cared for this land since time immemorial.
Notably, the land has been contaminated as settlers continue to exploit nature's resources and leave toxic waste behind in the land and water. As one example, see The Narwhal's article "This is Giant Mine."