In his landmark 2003 Massey Lectures, titled The Truth About Stories, the award-winning author and scholar Thomas King de-constructs the colonial and post-colonial narrative imposed upon Indigenous people by settlers in North America. And he does so through an analysis of the advent of contemporary Indigenous authors, where he notes that contemporary Native writers show little interest in using the past as a setting, preferring instead to place their fiction in the present:
What Native writers discovered, I believe, was that the North American past, the one that had been created in novels and histories, the one that had been heard on radio and seen on theatre screens and on television, the one that had been part of every school curriculum for the last two hundred years, that past was unusable, for it had not only trapped Native people in a time warp, it also insisted that our past was all we had. No present. No future. And to believe in such a past is to be dead.
Thomas King, The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative (Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 2003), 106.
I am less afraid of melt and thaw than I am of relocation when it looks like this. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates the cost of repo-sitioning Newtok Village at 80-130 million dollars. Not only is the land left behind not respected; but the dislocation from place endures as new lands are equally susceptible to permafrost melt. The mushy ground requires significant elevation reinforcements, footings, pilings, and stone embankments just as it instigates a network of bids from large engineering companies that perform the civil works contracts. Business as usual works like this: lands depleted and procedures in place.
A rupture twenty-five kilometers deep beneath the Nazca plate, produced the earthquake, triggering a tsunami that traveled along the fault at tectonic junctions. The magnitudinous waves spread beneath the coast until making landfall along the shores between Constitución and Concepción. Magnitude is relative power, and its measurement takes into account the energy released at the source. By comparison, intensity is the strength of the shaking produced by the magnitude.