Grey Owl & I
Grey Owl & I
Part of the Riding Mountain Artist’s Residency sponsored by Manitoba Arts Council and Parks Canada.
A hiking lecture co-lead with a Parks Canada Interpreter to the historic cabin of Grey Owl.
“During her time at the Riding Mountain Artists’ Residency, Kerri-Lynn will look at the historic story of Grey Owl and his ties to Riding Mountain National Park. Grey Owl was a British-born naturalist and conservationist that assumed a First Nations identity as a young man striking out across Canada in the early 20th century. Grey Owl was appointed as “the caretaker of park animals” of Riding Mountain National Park in 1931.
“During his short tenure, he built a cabin in the heart of the park in which he and his pet beavers lived,” said Kerri-Lynn. “His cultural mis-representation was exposed shortly after his death, making his conservationist work highly contentious and quickly dismissed despite the good that it did to change colonizing attitudes towards nature.”
Kerri-Lynn takes this historic story as an example of the impact of settler culture on the Canadian Prairies, which encompasses colonial attitudes to land, cultural appropriation, and power-based ideas of place-making. Deep colonial questions of authenticity, authority, identity, ownership, and the shaping of place, space, and experience are all exemplified in the story of Grey Owl.
“As an artist with a white settler heritage, I am keenly aware of my own relationship to this historic narrative and want to further address my own story through the intentional shaping of a creative non-fiction approach.”
During this project, she will explore Grey Owl story, as well as her own, through multi-centered approaches to storytelling. The physical space of Grey Owl’s cabin will be the focus of the project. Through a series of visits to the cabin, she will reflect on Grey Owl’s story through sketching, reading, writing, and walking-conversations.”
an excerpt from a description on the Manitoba Arts Council website