“The scenery of the ocean, however sublime in vast expanse, seems far less beautiful to us land-shod animals than that of the land seen only in comparatively small patches; but when we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.”
John Muir, Travels in Alaska (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1915), 5.
— John Muir, Travels in Alaska
Indigenous to Place
One of my colleagues, John Koepke, Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Minnesota, tells me that he re- ceives a different kind of attention as a designer because he is Ojibwe. He describes walking in both worlds, earning one kind of credit for teaching at a university as a tribe member, and another for being a tribe member teaching at a university: “I have found that so long as you can demonstrate empathy, cultural understanding, and respect for the earth, it doesn’t matter even if you are not working within your tribe.”
17Knowledge, in other words, is shared by experience regardless of context. That he is Ojibwe is a connection to his own personal experience, which is interesting in so far as it requires an understanding of what aspects of the self are most vital to share within the topic being studied. The personal voice is welcome in relation to his tribal affiliations, not because he is an Indigenous scholar but because he approaches the world with humility. This raises more questions than it answers; if Indigenous tribes have a long standing and deep connection to land-based practices then why are these practices absent in Western higher education? The belief that human beings are part of a greater life story is part of a continuum of all life on Earth. Each individual plays their own role as a custodian, safeguarding the land for the next generation. Every person born has a purpose, every person belongs.
Permafrost (napat ngeliit), is a condition that keeps the Arctic ecosystem by making ground watertight, because it remains at or below freezing for two or more consecutive years. Thawing permafrost not only releases methane into the atmosphere, but it also drains the wetlands, bogs, and marshes by transforming the structure of the ground.
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.