The futures of becoming(s)
Exploring the liminal spaces between consciousness and spirituality
26 October 2023 (Thursday), 11:15-13:00, cowork

And the Canary called out to the Raven: a Gaswéñdah (Two- Row Wampum Treaty) approach to the futures of sensemaking with non-human life

Nia:Wen! We use a novel method to investigate the futures and continuance of sense-making with non-human living beings. Drawing on vibrant examples from both Haudenosaunee and European traditions, we invite you to engage joyfully with the abundant but often uncredited sensemaking and anticipatory capacities of the lifeforms that have evolved alongside and even within us. What might the raven by the river say to the canary in the coalmine? What might ancestral DNA in the soil say to the archaea in your gut?
Our futures method is modeled on the fundamental treaty commitment between Europeans and the Haudenosaunee People recorded in the Gaswéñdah (Two-Row Wampum). With guidance from Elders, we try out protocols for friendly dialogue between the Ship-Row (drawing on European traditions of science and Futures Studies) and the Canoe-Row (drawing on Haudenosaunee knowledge and anticipatory systems). The two rows in the Wampum do not merge, so we avoid undue synthesis or hybridization of approaches or insights. But the two rows also do not ignore one another or proceed indiscriminately. We are interested in the anticipatory potential of conversational and storytelling methods that maintain the separateness and integrity of the Canoe and the Ship, as well as the waters of Friendship and Peace between and on either side of them. The Gaswéñdah is itself a powerful anticipatory device: a treaty object so subtle and deep that it remains in effect “as long as the grass is green, as long as the water runs downhill, as long as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, and as long as our Mother Earth will last.”

First Nations Technical Institute