the project: re-establishing small native fruit trees as part of making contemporary culture

2021 June 21 ripening fruit of MÁT̸ŦEN ILĆ [SENĆOŦEN], Suksdorf black hawthorn,
Crataegus suksdorfii, KEXMIN field station, Salt Spring Island P6210006

bosque section - presqueperdu Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram (small)

The 2014 – 2016 studies, designs and interventions that comprise À la recherche de certaines récoltes presque perdu: Decolonising permaculture: The greatest adversity comes from forgetting are in response to Utopiana’s call for the thematic residency, La Bête et l’adversité. We explore one ‘beast’ in nature: human memory and the ways that biology, culture and our individual developments mediate what we know of landscapes and how we interact and sometimes transform public spaces. In this context, we explore divergent experiences of the postcolonial world: the Geneva region that was not colonized and has had an uneven relationship with the imperial and modernist projects and the still decolonising Salish Sea region of the South Coast of Pacific Canada and adjacent Puget Sound in the United States of America.

edible chokecherry, Prunus virginiana, fruit (‘drupe’) (2016 August 11 above Fulford Harbour just 50 metres west of the historic stone Catholic Church, Salt Spring Island photo by Alex Grunenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram)

indefinite decolonial matrix - presqueperdu - Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

Within these landscapes, we explore and imagine reinserting dwindling populations of wild and traditional tree crops, in the gene pools of

apple and pear,

plum and cherry,

raspberry and blackberry, and

blueberry and cranberry.

For other Canadians having very mixed feelings about next week’s 150th anniversary of the modern Canadian state (including its massive repressive apparatuses), perhaps we need an alternative symbol. This is the only native tree that is in every province and territory: chokecherry, Prunus virginiana. It was known in nearly every indigenous language was the first fruit after the glaciers receded, has medicinal bark (for the original cherry cough lozenge), and produced the preferred poles for teepees. (2017 May 7, Ruckle Provincial Park, Salt Spring Island photo by Alex Grunenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram)

Tree fruit in this project also becomes a focus for exploring ecological and cultural legacies and ‘gifts’ within ecosystems with renewed interest in philosophies of gratitude so central to indigenous cultures in the Western Hemisphere. The divergent indigenous cultures of these gene pools, that span both the Geneva and the Vancouver-Seattle regions across Europe, Asia, and north-western North America are reconnoitered. In this way, we critique and begin to decolonise popular and sometimes trite notions of ‘permaculture’, a set of principles and practices for diverse and more sustainable agro-ecosystems by re-centring the roles of traditional knowledge and learning from and respecting local gene pools (and associated human populations).

timeline - presqueperdu Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram (small)

Initiating our investigations of forgetting, memory and remembrance as an often irascible beast within nature (and human lives), the contributions of Proust, and in particular his now waning modernist notions of the individual, landscape, and desire codified in À la recherche de certaines récoltes presque perdu comprise a key source for understanding the legacies of the colonial projects within Europe and in margins such as Pacific Canada. In understanding this broader loss of memory and ecosystem under modernism and individuals, we construct another aspect of the emerging movement of decolonial aesthetic specifically departing from and ‘rifting’ with Proustian nostalgia. A century ago, Proust’s modernist aesthetics largely obscured labour, ecology, and political economy from experiences of landscapes, agriculture, and indigenous and traditional communities. Today, contemporary aesthetics are back to more fully appreciating cultural legacies in nature as well as the crucial role of traditional knowledge and communities and material relationships more generally.

trellis - presqueperdu Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram (small)

Our endgame, in À la recherche de certaines récoltes presque perdu: Decolonising permaculture: The greatest adversity comes from forgetting, is to propose and begin to demonstrate some interventions in public space that re-establish small groves of these often declining tree crops. As beneficiaries of the tree planting legacies of artists Joseph Beuys and Alan Sonfist, we argue that agriculture and horticulture embody practices central to the collaborative and community-based impulses in contemporary art. In this work, we are also strongly influenced by the relational aesthetics proposed over a decade ago, that are more concerned with social learning than production of static art objects, and more recent forms of radical materialism centred on cultural cognition of threats to the biosphere and human life support and that in turn challenge to intensifying social inequities.

2015 Oct 14 site planning Alex - Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram (small)

Just as important as generating a beneficial ecological impact through nurturing traditional local gene pools, habitats and communities, we make ‘installations’ and archives with what we can find from recycled paper and ink to digital photographs, videos and text made with old computers and mobile telephones and reworked versions of software and apps. So in a time of new forms of impoverishment for artists, our approach is aggressive in the mixing of discarded and repurposed media taking inspiration from the minimalism and disregard for polish of the Arte Povera movement of Italy in the 1970s.

fruit (a month from being ripe) of crabapple trees, Malus fusca, in a grove with a very long history of harvesting and stewardship (and now vulnerable to sea level rise) at the Cowichan village, Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2016 August 11 & 12 * photograph taken jointly by Alex Grünenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

2015 Sept urban bosques - Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram (small)

acknowledgements: support & funding

2020 August 8 chokecherry in Cowichan territory south of Mesachie Lake on southern Vancouver Island

This recent work on the cultures of traditional indigenous tree crops on the West Coast of Canada, and the implications of these investigations for contemporary culture, is supported as part of the work of KEXMIN field station and the engagements in aesthetics, documentation and artistic production have been funded by the generous support of the Canada Canada for the Arts Inter-Arts Program through consecutive project grants. Related contracts and in-kind support for research, theorizing, and production has involved small contracts with the City of Vancouver Public Art Program, the Yukon Arts Council, the Alp Art Academy, Haute école d’art et de design Genève and a number of universities including California Berkeley and Cornell. Scores of people have supported this work through generously sharing perspectives and ideas and sometimes collaborating most notably, Alex Grünenfelder, Cleome Rowe, Jan Steinman, Uta Nagle, Dal O’Toole, Harry Burton, Jeni Mastin, Sally Ogis, Don Hann, Cate Sandilands, and Dianne Chisholm.

In transforming the drawings, photographs, and notes from recent work on land art, found, conceived, and performed, two indigenous visual arts residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity were crucial for self-reflection and expanding my digital skills. Just before the COVID-19 lockdown, Nikki Little and Meaghan Byrne, of imagineNATIVE (the Toronto-headquartered Centre for Aboriginal Media), lead the last Indigenous Visual Arts residency before the COVID lockdown, Mixed Media 101, bringing together a score of artists, interactivity designers and teachers in the winter snows of the Rockies. As well as being deeply grateful to Nikki and Meaghan (and to administrators Reneltta Arluk, Janine Windolph, Allison Yearwood, and Howard Lee), the following members of the Banff media team (having no idea that most would soon be laid off in the pandemic), were superb and compassionate teachers: Aubrey Fernandez, Jennifer Chiasson, Tyler Jordan, Rylaan Gimby, Bojan Cosic, and Court Brinsmead. Roughly a year later, I returned to a very different Banff via Zoom for the at-a-distance phase of, Akunumusǂitis: Ecological Engagement Through the Seasons. Along with the leadership of Janine and Reneltta and Tyler’s technical acumen, Lillian Rose, a Ktunaxa leader and land artist rooted at Columbia Lake, Regina-based Nakoda buffalo artist, Joely BigEagle, and Toronto-based Cree multimedia performance artist, Cheryl L’Hirondelle took us to places where participants lived, along the North American Cordillera, in profoundly new (and old) ways. I remain in awe of this team of teachers! Thanks to the Slaight Family Foundation for funding my participation in the Banff Centre residencies.

HÍSW̱ḴE / Huy ch q / máh-sie / Marsee
SENĆOŦEN / Hul’q’umi’num’] / Chinook / Michif
THANKS!!!

 

fruit of MÁT̸ŦEN IL̵Ć [SENĆOŦEN], Suksdorf black hawthorn, Crataegus suksdorfii, that over the last week has gone from green to red and that will ripen to a deep black sweetness in another month

2021 June 21 ripening fruit of MÁT̸ŦEN IL̵Ć [SENĆOŦEN], Suksdorf black hawthorn,
Crataegus suksdorfii, KEXMIN field station, Salt Spring Island * P6210029

Happy National Indigenous Peoples Day from KEXMIN field station on the island of ĆUÁN! Last week, this fruit of MÁT̸ŦEN IL̵Ć [SENĆOŦEN], Suksdorf black hawthorn, Crataegus suksdorfii, was green and hard. A week later in this Solstice heat, this same drupe has enlarged and for a few weeks will be red to ripen mid-summer as a deep black sweetness.

celebrating Earth Day through learning from black hawthorn, Crataegus suksdorfii, and their recovery as contemporary culture

2021 April 21 black hawthorn, Crataegus suksdorfii volunteering at KEXMIN field station P4210007

celebrating Earth Day on the Gulf Islands of south-western Canada through learning from black hawthorn, MÁT̸ŦEN ILĆ [SENĆOŦEN] / Metth’unulhp [Hul’q’umi’num’], Crataegus suksdorfii, one of a number of disappearing native fruit trees (growing from northern British Columbia to northern California to across the Rockies to Lake Superior) and how these trees persist, recolonize and can be protected and restored through social strategies rooted in contemporary culture

What is nearly lost? / Qu’est-ce qui est presque perdu?

chokecherry 2018 August 12, cf. related to  SC̸ET̸EṈILĆ [W̱SÁNEĆ], tuluµulhp [HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’], Prunus virginiana, Grandma Bay, Ruckle Provincial Park, Salt Spring Island. This beautiful little tree, perhaps 6 metres in height, is producing an exceptional bounty of ripe chokecherries this year (the little red dots in the image) in part because sea level rise has washed away half of its roots. So these chokecherries, many that fell on to the beach and half of which were harvested and planted in the neighbourhood, could well be it’s last — especially if a winter storm in coming years were to was away the tree. photograph by Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

The ‘presque perdu’ project focuses on wild and traditional fruit trees around the Northern Hemisphere: what they are botanically and how they look; the roles they play in ecosystems, human nutrition, legions of local and cosmopolitan cultures; current and potential relationships with contemporary aesthetics, public spaces, and urban habitat; the divergent communal experiences of these fruit trees in rural Europe and parts of East and South Asia, on one hand, and, the destruction erasure of many of these orchards created and owned by indigenous communities; the roles of fruit trees more broadly in cultural memory; and the difficulties and opportunities of defending and re-establishing these orchards of ecologically strategic pollinators in the wake of climate change, loss of biological diversity, and the spread of toxic compounds.

Le projet «presque perdu» se concentre sur les arbres fruitiers sauvages et traditionnels autour de l’hémisphère nord: ce qu’ils sont botaniquement et à quoi ils ressemblent; les rôles qu’ils jouent dans les écosystèmes, la nutrition humaine, les légions de cultures locales et cosmopolites; les relations actuelles et potentielles avec l’esthétique contemporaine, les espaces publics et l’habitat urbain; les expériences communautaires divergentes de ces arbres fruitiers en Europe rurale et dans certaines parties de l’Asie de l’Est et du Sud, d’une part, et l’effacement par destruction de nombreux vergers créés et possédés par des communautés autochtones; le rôle des arbres fruitiers plus largement dans la mémoire culturelle; et les difficultés et les possibilités de défendre et de rétablir ces vergers de pollinisateurs écologiquement stratégiques à la suite des changements climatiques, de la perte de diversité biologique et de la propagation de composés toxiques.

 

crabapple 2018 September 16 ripe Pacific crabapple fruit, KÁ,EW [SENĆOŦEN], Qwa’up-ulhp [Hul’q’umi’num’], Malus fusca, below the group campsites at Ruckle Provincial Park, Salt Spring Island. With several old groves of crabapple just above this rocky short, there may well have been some cross-pollinating with a 19th century orchard (now largely gone) with a volunteer pear tree, on a ledge [impossible for it to be cultivate] and some other possible hybrids.
This multi-media exploration of what is ‘nearly lost’, the <<perdu>>, is rooted in Proust’s quintessentially unreliable narrator along with his love of pear, apple, and hawthorn trees at the peak of the French colonial empire[1]. But while the past, as in ‘lost time’ is gone, these resilient little trees, cultivated or just persisting in less tended and wilder margins of communities, continue to keep the biosphere functioning, bees making honey, and people eating fruit.

Cette exploration multimédia de ce qui est «presque perdu», le «perdu», trouve son origine dans le narrateur par excellence, peu fiable, de Proust, avec son amour de la poire, de la pomme et des aubépines au sommet de l’empire colonial français[2]. Mais alors que le passé, comme dans le «temps perdu» a disparu, ces petits arbres résilients, cultivés ou persistant dans des marges de communautés moins tendues, continuent de faire fonctionner la biosphère, les abeilles fabriquant du miel et les gens mangeant des fruits.

 

hazelnut 2018 Sept 16 volunteer hazelnut on Beaver Point Road, Salt Spring Island, qwp’áxw, qwp’axw-ilhch) (with ‘x’s underlined)[SENĆOŦEN], P’pw’axw [Hul’q’umi’num’] cf Corylus cornuta var. californica. This is the closest reproducing found so far to the following record for the same species (Accession: V765871, 12 May 1957 – T.R. Ashlee Institution: UBC, Location: Saltspring Island, Beaver Point Hall http://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/Atlas/Atlas.aspx?sciname=Corylus%20cornuta). Two other confirmed populations of this ‘variety’ in the area, with possible signs of human management and selection, are on Yellow Island to the south-east, beyond San Juan Island, and Goldstream Provincial Park at the south end of Saanich Inlet to the south-west.
So what has really been lost? In delving into these fruit around the Northern Hemisphere, a great deal of cultural memory is being lost related to fruit trees — especially for indigenous communities in jurisdictions such as British Columbia where well-tended orchards were never recognized by the state and have largely been destroyed[3]. Recovering that world, the agriculture, the visual culture, and the living cultures are a huge part of this ‘presque perdu‘. There is sufficient amount of history and remaining knowledge form elders to re-establish these orchards — and too many legal bases and cultural imperatives not to. And around the world, too many orchards continue to be destroyed or converted to simplified ecosystems doused with poison. And for Proust’s somewhat nostalgic ‘lost time’, fin de siècle and imperial France was a difficult place for most people, notably peasants, workers, and colonial subject, with pear and hawthorn blossoms only small consolations. And is Proust’s melancholy rooted in absence (and sexual repression) largely a foil for inability to engage with the present and solve current problems — almost reducing moments of beauty to small consolations?

Alors qu’est-ce qui a vraiment été perdu? En fouillant dans l’hémisphère nord, on perd beaucoup de mémoire culturelle liée aux arbres fruitiers – en particulier pour les communautés autochtones comme la Colombie-Britannique, où les vergers bien entretenus n’ont jamais été reconnus par l’État[4]. Retrouver ce monde, l’agriculture, la culture visuelle et les cultures vivantes constituent une grande partie de ce «presque perdu». Il y a suffisamment d’histoire et de savoirs anciens pour rétablir ces vergers – et trop de bases juridiques et d’impératifs culturels pour ne pas le faire. Et dans le monde entier, trop de vergers continuent à être détruits ou convertis en écosystèmes simplifiés arrosés de poison. Et pour le «temps perdu» quelque peu nostalgique de Proust, la fin de siècle et la France impériale étaient un lieu difficile pour la plupart des gens, notamment paysans, ouvriers et sujets coloniaux, les fleurs de poirier et d’aubépine n’étant que de petites consolations. Et la mélancolie de Proust s’enracine-t-elle dans l’absence (et la répression sexuelle), en grande partie une impossibilité à s’engager dans le présent et à résoudre les problèmes actuels – réduisant presque les moments de beauté à de petites consolations?

 

2018 crabapple fruit drawing by Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

Experiences of loss and ‘near loss’ have not been confined to intensifying disappearance of habitat, species, and wild and traditional fruit trees – or even Proust’s nostalgia for the last vestiges of the Second French Empire and the early days of the La IIIe République. While Proust was ruminating over the shift to modern agricultural landscapes, indigenous communities around the globe were being destroyed. While suffering inequities and losses as a gay man enduring constant anti-semitism, Proust makes scant mention of the ravages of the French state and the chauvinism of Paris and other Western European cultures.

Les expériences de perte et de «quasi-perte» ne se sont pas limitées à l’intensification de la disparition d’habitats, d’espèces et d’arbres fruitiers sauvages et traditionnels – ni même à la nostalgie de Proust pour les derniers vestiges du Second Empire et des premiers temps de la IIIe République. Alors que Proust réfléchissait au passage aux paysages agricoles modernes, les communautés autochtones du monde entier étaient détruites. Tout en souffrant d’inégalités et de pertes en tant qu’homosexuel subissant un antisémitisme constant, Proust ne mentionne guère les ravages de l’État français et le chauvinisme de Paris et des autres cultures de l’Europe occidentale.

 

hawthorn 2018 August 10, meyt’than7ihch (with the ‘a’ reversed)[SENĆOŦEN], Metth’unulhp [Hul’q’umi’num’], black hawthorn, Crataegus douglasii var douglasii, on Burgoyne Bay Road, Salt Spring Island by Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram
Today, there are new losses on the horizon especially from climate change. And as ecosystems become more vulnerable, we are seeing the swan song of Proust’s consumer aesthetic largely based on the wealth of empires and a century and a half of avoiding manual labour especially work on the land. But the losses to indigenous communities and cultures throughout the world, from population numbers to languages to community memory to persistent constraints on the protection of traditional knowledge and scientific innovation, continue to persist. While today, we are experience a resurgence of indigenous communities and governments, in many parts of the world[5], I have already seen, personally, three cycles of activism and public interest in Pacific Canada followed by indifference and more sophisticated forms of erasure and exoticization.

Aujourd’hui, il y a de nouvelles pertes à l’horizon, en particulier du changement climatique. Et comme les écosystèmes deviennent plus vulnérables, nous voyons le chant du cygne de l’esthétique du consommateur de Proust largement basé sur la richesse des empires et un siècle et demi d’éviter le travail manuel en particulier le travail sur la terre. Mais les pertes subies par les communautés et les cultures autochtones dans le monde entier, des populations aux langues, à la mémoire de la communauté et aux contraintes persistantes sur la protection des savoirs traditionnels et des innovations scientifiques, persistent. Alors qu’aujourd’hui, nous assistons à une résurgence des communautés autochtones et des gouvernements, dans de nombreuses régions du monde[6], j’ai déjà vu personnellement trois cycles d’activisme et d’intérêt public dans le Canada du Pacifique suivis par l’indifférence et des formes plus sophistiquées d’effacement et d’exotisation.

 

crabapple 2018 May 1 KÁ,EW [SENĆOŦEN], Qwa’up-ulhp [Hul’q’umi’num’], Malus fusca blooming on the south side of Beaver Point, Ruckle Provincial Park, Salt Spring Island by Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram
At the core of the ‘presque perdu’ project is exploring the loss of indigenous orchards and related horticultural sites, along with respective traditional knowledge, on the West Coast of Canada. As both a public artist[7] and ecological scientist[8] and designer, this loss, and attempts to recover site and knowledge, has had a central bearing on my work. Growing up in a relatively assimilated and middle-class, Métis family, in a majority Salish community, efforts to recover and re-establish land stewardship and cultivation shaped my childhood — as well as having to witness racist violence (including directed at a parent), walking the lines of an Indian Reserve, being exposed to but barely speaking a number of disappearing indigenous language (SENĆOŦEN, Chinook, and a French dialect that was close to Michif), and having inspiring mentoring by elders. But with all of the advantages, the sense of loss, the immensity of what is permanently gone in terms of knowledge and locales, continues to haunt me. And fully understanding the extent of these orchards and their disappearance (and persistence) becomes a sort of cultural murder mystery.

Au cœur du projet «presque perdu», on explore la perte de vergers indigènes et de sites horticoles connexes, ainsi que les connaissances traditionnelles respectives, sur la côte ouest du Canada. En tant qu’artiste public[9] et scientifique et concepteur écologique[10], cette perte et ces tentatives de récupération de sites et de connaissances ont eu une influence déterminante sur mon travail. Ayant grandi dans une famille métisse relativement assimilée et appartenant à la classe moyenne, dans une communauté salish majoritaire, les efforts pour retrouver et rétablir la gestion et la culture des terres ont façonné mon enfance et ont été témoins de violence raciste ), marchant dans les limites d’une réserve indienne, s’exposant mais parlant à peine un certain nombre de langues indigènes en voie de disparition (SENĆOŦEN, Chinook et un dialecte français proche du Michif) et bénéficiant d’un mentorat inspirant des aînés. Mais avec tous les avantages, le sentiment de perte, l’immensité de ce qui a disparu en permanence en termes de connaissances et de lieux continuent de me hanter. Et comprendre pleinement l’étendue de ces vergers et leur disparition (et leur persistance) devient une sorte de mystère de meurtre culturel.

trigon, a fundamental element of Northwest Coast visual language — both on the south and north coasts by Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

But unpacking losses and participating in the more profound forms of cultural resurgence is not linear and certainly not assured. Art can sometimes be a playful space to deal with painful topics. Breaking down lines between media and between indigenous and contemporary aesthetic movements can be fun. And so much of deeper forms of loss, in Western and not necessarily indigenous, culture has been tied to notions of an Apocalypse. But for indigenous communities, and artists, the Apocalypse has happened over the last five hundred years and even with a future of intensifying climate change, loss of biodiversity, and chaotic forms of globalization[11], things cannot get much worse than what our communities have survived. So while indigenous resurgence and state tolerance may wax and wane, ancient communities and cultural traditions deeply rooted in the local and the land will   survive and sometimes recover. And aesthetic gestures can be one route to reimagine what was nearly but was not completely lost.

Mais déballer les pertes et participer aux formes plus profondes de résurgence culturelle n’est pas linéaire et certainement pas assuré. L’art peut parfois être un espace ludique pour traiter des sujets douloureux. Briser les lignes entre les médias et entre les mouvements esthétiques autochtones et contemporains peut être amusant. Et tant de formes plus profondes de perte, dans la culture occidentale et pas nécessairement indigène, ont été liées aux notions d’Apocalypse. Mais pour les communautés autochtones et les artistes, l’Apocalypse s’est produite au cours des cinq cents dernières années et même avec un avenir d’intensification du changement climatique, de perte de biodiversité et de formes chaotiques de la mondialisation[12], ainsi, alors que la résurgence des populations indigènes et la tolérance de l’État peuvent croître et disparaître, les anciennes communautés et les traditions culturelles profondément enracinées dans la région et la terre vont survivre et parfois se rétablir. Et les gestes esthétiques peuvent être un moyen de réinventer ce qui était presque mais n’a pas été complètement perdu.

 

chokecherry 2018 May 3 cf. related to skwt’thang’-ilhch (with the ‘a’ symbol reversed) for bitter cherry [SENĆOŦEN], cf. lhex̱wlhéx̱w, thuxwun [Hul’q’umi’num’], Prunus virginia, in the lower part of the original 1971 Mount Maxwell Ecological Reserve, Hwmet’utsun Conservation Landscape, Salt Spring Island, by Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram
There is a cleavage explored in the ‘presque perdu’ between the horrific losses of indigenous communities, from populations to knowledge to options for relaxation, on one hand, and the precarious near future where little fruit trees may make a huge difference around urban liveability and the survival of local ecosystems as well as food production for human health. So many orchards were effectively destroyed in the twentieth century and so much of what we love is threatened in these times. But these little trees, these ‘heavy lifters’ in the worlds of ecosystems, diet, and aesthetics, in deed human experience, show no signs of disappearing. And these little trees give us fruit as existential gifts, that even with the stresses and crises of which we are increasingly confronted, show few signs of being entirely. What has been ‘nearly lost’ are these wild hedges, the traditional knowledge, the sense of rights to these ecosystems as part of healthy communities, and the quiet moments to enjoy some unowned, feral fruit from a roadside, and those random moments to enjoy the apple blossoms drift by. But this project show how these beautiful trees and nourishing fruit can transform the world.

Il y a un clivage exploré dans le «presque perdu» entre les pertes terribles des communautés autochtones, des populations aux connaissances en passant par les options de détente, et l’avenir proche précaire où les petits arbres fruitiers peuvent faire une énorme différence la survie des écosystèmes locaux ainsi que la production alimentaire pour la santé humaine. Tant de vergers ont été effectivement détruits au XXe siècle et une grande partie de ce que nous aimons est menacée à cette époque. Mais ces petits arbres, ces «gros porteurs» dans les mondes des écosystèmes, de l’alimentation et de l’esthétique, dans l’expérience humaine, ne montrent aucun signe de disparition. Et ces petits arbres nous donnent des fruits en tant que dons existentiels qui, même avec les tensions et les crises auxquelles nous sommes de plus en plus confrontés, montrent peu de signes d’être totalement. Ce qui a été «presque perdu», ce sont les haies sauvages, le savoir traditionnel, le sens des droits sur ces écosystèmes dans le cadre de communautés saines et les moments tranquilles pour profiter de fruits sauvages et sans propriétaire sur la route. les fleurs de pommiers dérivent. Mais ce projet montre comment ces beaux arbres et ces fruits nourrissants peuvent transformer le monde.

chokecherry 2018 August 13 cf. related to skwt’thang’-ilhch (with the ‘a’ symbol reversed) for bitter cherry [SENĆOŦEN], cf. lhex̱wlhéx̱w, thuxwun [Hul’q’umi’num’], Prunus virginia, Fulford Harbour near Fulford Creek, Salt Spring Island, by Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram
notes

[1] So far, I have been working with the following English-language translations of the six volumes of À la recherche du temps perdu: Marcel Proust. (1913) 2002. Swann’s Way. (Lydia Davis translation). New York: Penguin.; Marcel Proust. 2003 (1993, 1919) Within A Budding Grove. (In Search of Lost Time Volume II). (C. K. Scott Moncrieff, Terence Kilmartin, and D. J. Enright translators). New York: Random House / Modern Library.; Marcel Proust. 2003 (1992, 1921). The Guermantes Way. (In Search of Lost Time Volume III). (C. K. Scott Moncrieff, Terence Kilmartin, and D. J. Enright translators). New York: Random House / Modern Library.; and Marcel Proust. 2003 (1993, 1922). Sodom and Gomorrah (In Search of Lost Time Volume IV). (C. K. Scott Moncrieff, Terence Kilmartin, and D. J. Enright translators). New York: Random House / Modern Library.

[2] Jusqu’à présent, j’ai travaillé avec les traductions anglaises suivantes des six volumes de À la recherche du temps perdu: Marcel Proust. (1913) 2002. Swann’s Way. (Lydia Davis translation). New York: Penguin.; Marcel Proust. 2003 (1993, 1919). Within A Budding Grove. (In Search of Lost Time Volume II). (C. K. Scott Moncrieff, Terence Kilmartin, and D. J. Enright translators). New York: Random House / Modern Library.; Marcel Proust. 2003 (1992, 1921). The Guermantes Way. (In Search of Lost Time Volume III). (C. K. Scott Moncrieff, Terence Kilmartin, and D. J. Enright translators). New York: Random House / Modern Library.; et Marcel Proust. 2003 (1993, 1922). Sodom and Gomorrah (In Search of Lost Time Volume IV). (C. K. Scott Moncrieff, Terence Kilmartin, and D. J. Enright translators). New York: Random House / Modern Library.

[3] The best introduction to the suppression of indigenous orchards in north-western North America, is in the anthology, Douglas Deur and Nancy J. Turner (eds). 2005. Keeping It Living: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America. Vancouver: UBC Press / Seattle: University of Seattle Press, with a wonderful, recent example of confirming and recovering these sites and respective knowledge, Wyllie de Echeverria, Victoria. 2013. Moolks (Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca) on the North Coast of British Columbia: Knowledge and meaning in Gitga’at Culture. MSc thesis University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia. https://dspace.library.uvic.ca/handle/1828/4596.

[4] La meilleure introduction à la suppression des vergers indigènes du nord-ouest de l’Amérique du Nord se trouve dans l’anthologie, Douglas Deur and Nancy J. Turner (eds). 2005. Keeping It Living: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America. Vancouver: UBC Press / Seattle: University of Seattle Press, avec un merveilleux exemple récent de confirmation et de récupération de ces sites et de leurs connaissances respectives, Wyllie de Echeverria, Victoria. 2013. Moolks (Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca) on the North Coast of British Columbia: Knowledge and meaning in Gitga’at Culture. MSc thesis University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia. https://dspace.library.uvic.ca/handle/1828/4596.

[5] One example of indigenous resurgence theorizing, particularly relevant to north-western North America, is the highly influential, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. 2017. As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, where she argues that, “We cannot carry out the kind of decolonization our Ancestors set in motion if we don’t create a generation of land-based, community-based intellectuals and cultural producers who are accountable to our nations and whose life work is concerned with the regeneration of these systems rather than meeting the overwhelming needs of the Western academic complex or attempting to ‘Indigenize the academy’ by bringing Indigenous Knowledge into the academy on the terms of the academy itself…The land must again become the pedagogy.” (pages 159-160).

[6] Un exemple de la théorisation de la résurgence indigène, particulièrement pertinente pour le nord-ouest de l’Amérique du Nord, est la très influente, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. 2017. As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, où elle soutient que, “We cannot carry out the kind of decolonization our Ancestors set in motion if we don’t create a generation of land-based, community-based intellectuals and cultural producers who are accountable to our nations and whose life work is concerned with the regeneration of these systems rather than meeting the overwhelming needs of the Western academic complex or attempting to ‘Indigenize the academy’ by bringing Indigenous Knowledge into the academy on the terms of the academy itself…The land must again become the pedagogy.” (fiches 159-160).

[7] While growing in a community engaged in a mid-twentieth century form of ‘indigenous modernism’, focused on the re-establishment of large outdoor works (and on-going production) in public space, the work in this project has been influenced by an arc going back to early land art with, Dennis Oppenheim’s 1969, “Directed Seeding – Cancelled crop” installed in the Netherlands (https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/oppenheim-directed-seeding-cancelled-crop-t12402); Alan Sonfist’s 1978, “Time Landscape”; and Joseph Beuys’ 1982, “7000 Eichen – Stadtverwaldung statt Stadtverwaltung / 7000 Oaks – City Forestation Instead of City Administration.” And more recently, Omaskêko Cree conceptualist, Duane Linklater and Ron Benner have made site-based works acknowledging indigenous presence, cultivation, and ‘gardens’.

[8] For an example of contemporary, multimedia artistic practices that engage in science as research and as aesthetics, see the following discussion of a garden of the late Helen Harrison and Newton Harrison, Jonathon Keats. 2018. Eco-Art Or Science? Helen And Newton Harrison Are Sculpting Earth Systems To Endure Climate Change. Forbes (August 21, 2018).  https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonathonkeats/2018/08/21/helen-newton-harrison-santa-cruz/#3e4f77207214

[9] En grandissant dans une communauté engagée dans une forme de «modernisme indigène» du milieu du vingtième siècle, axée sur le rétablissement de grandes œuvres de plein air (et de la production en cours) dans l’espace public, le travail dans ce projet a été influencé par un arc retourner à landart avec, Dennis Oppenheim, 1969, “Directed Seeding – Cancelled crop” installé aux Pays-Bas (https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/oppenheim-directed-seeding-cancelled-crop-t12402); Alan Sonfist 1978, “Time Landscape”; and Joseph Beuys 1982; et Joseph Beuys 1982, “7000 Eichen – Stadtverwaldung statt Stadtverwaltung / 7000 Oaks – City Forestation Instead of City Administration.” Et plus récemment, Cree Omaskêko conceptualiste, Duane Linklater et Ron Benner ont réalisé des travaux sur site reconnaissant la présence, la culture et les «jardins» autochtones.

[10] Pour un exemple de pratiques artistiques contemporaines et multimédias qui se livrent à la science en tant que recherche et en tant qu’esthétique, voir la discussion suivante sur un jardin de feu Helen Harrison et Newton Harrison, Jonathon Keats. 2018. Eco-Art Or Science? Helen And Newton Harrison Are Sculpting Earth Systems To Endure Climate Change. Forbes (August 21, 2018). https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonathonkeats/2018/08/21/helen-newton-harrison-santa-cruz/#3e4f77207214

[11] A recent essay by Matias Viegner on the constraints on multimedia artistic production in the context of neoliberalism:

Matias Viegener. 2015. Speculative Futures: Social practice, cognitive capitalism and / or the triumph of capital. in Informal Market Worlds: The Architecture of Economic Pressure. Peter Mörtenböeck and Helge Mooshammer (eds.). Rotterdam: nai010.  http://mviegener.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Viegener-Matias-Speculative-Futures-Social-Practice-Cognitive-Capitalism-andor-the-Triumph-of-Capital.pdf

[12] Un récent essai de Matias Viegner sur les contraintes de la production artistique multimédia dans le contexte du néolibéralisme: Matias Viegener. 2015. Speculative Futures: Social practice, cognitive capitalism and / or the triumph of capital. in Informal Market Worlds: The Architecture of Economic Pressure. Peter Mörtenböeck and Helge Mooshammer (eds.). Rotterdam: nai010. http://mviegener.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Viegener-Matias-Speculative-Futures-Social-Practice-Cognitive-Capitalism-andor-the-Triumph-of-Capital.pdf

old apple variety and possible Malus pumila cross with Malus fusca 9 2018 May 3, former private, cleared parcel acquired in 2011 for habitat protection and adjacent to the lower point of the 1971 Mount Maxwell Ecological Reserve, Hwmet’utsun Conservation Landscape, Salt Spring Island, by Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

Support for this ongoing project, including documentation posted on this web-installation, came from the Canada Council for the Arts in 2015 and 2017.

L’appui à ce projet en cours, y compris la documentation affichée sur cette installation Internet, est venu du Conseil des arts du Canada en 2015 et en 2017.

crabapple 2018 Sept 16 KÁ,EW [SENĆOŦEN], Qwa’up-ulhp [Hul’q’umi’num’], Malus fusca, a key grove on Burgoyne Bay, very vulnerable to sea level rise which has already killed a tree, and near the historic and ongoing Cowichan village of Xwaaqw’um, Salt Spring Island, by Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

Search & Rescue for the nearly lost: Black (Sukdorf’s) hawthorn, MÁT̸ŦEN ILĆ [SENĆOŦEN] & Metth’unulhp [Hul’q’umi’num’], Crataegus suksdorfii, one of a number of disappearing native fruit trees

2021 March 3 Black hawtorn (Suksdorf’s), above Weston Lake, on south-eastern Salt Spring Island P3030008

To study, celebrate, protect, and re-establish scores of small native trees, especially those that flower and bear fruit, in the Northern Hemisphere involves a range of artistic, horticultural, design, and activist practices. As well as going back to elders with crucial knowledge, we can learn a great deal from those individual trees and groves that re-establish themselves in the face of ecological degradation. Sometimes seeking out this knowledge and surviving groves is a kind of cultural and ecological “search and rescue.”

Of the two black hawthorn species in western North America, Sukdorf’s hawthorn, Crataegus suksdorfii (sometimes still labelled Crataegus douglasii var. suksdorfii) grows as a tree  and has twenty stamens and is diploid. Unless pruned and kept at a lower height, this species produces less fruit than its shrubby relative, Douglas’ hawthorn, Crataegus douglasii (sometimes labelled as Crataegus douglasii var. douglasii). With scores of names in the many indigenous languages in the West, this species is sometimes labelled the same as is Douglas’ hawthorn.

On the Gulf and San Juan Islands of the Salish Sea, both of these black hawthorn species are referred to as MÁT̸ŦEN ILĆ in SENĆOŦEN and Metth’unulhp in Hul’q’umi’num’. There has been very little research on the distribution of Sukdorf’s hawthorn nor its ecological requirements and status. That this species can colonize thickets of highly invasive, Himalayan blackberry, Rubus armeniacus, is new information.

 

Persistence: Land(scape) in contemporary indigenous visual & activist practices

Persistence: Land(scape) in contemporary indigenous visual & activist practices (or indigenous site-based visual practices for re-imagining communal relationships to land and territory), Ontario College of Art and Design University, Toronto.
notes
&
graphics

presque perdu | nearly lost: Reinscribing wild & traditionally stewarded fruit trees of the Northern Hemisphere

blossoms of Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca, Ruckle Provincial Park 2018 May 1 Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

Around the Northern Hemisphere, species in four circumpolar (and Beringian) genera of  fruit trees, Malus (apple), Prunus (cherry), Corylus (hazelnut), and Crataegus (hawthorn), provide crucial ecological and aesthetic ‘services’ as well as fruit, medicine, and wood. Over the last 10,000 years, these species have been important in human survival — on both sides of the Pacific. And as these trees have adapted to human beings, there have been diverse forms of relationships and ‘domestications’ between both plants and humans. As urban ecosystems have degraded in both Eurasia and North America, these small trees have often persisted and provide new opportunities for environmental restoration, green spaces, and food production — as well as cultural renewal. This project is about the decolonial arts and sciences of re-establishing and expanded these historic groves and orchards.

ripe chokecherry fruit, lhex̱wlhéx̱w & thuxwun [Halkomelem], Prunus virginiana, above Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island – photograph by Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram 2018 August 13
Les espèces de quatre genres circumpolaires (et béringiens) d’arbres fruitiers de l’hémisphère nord, Malus (pomme), Prunus (cerise), Corylus (noisette) et Crataegus (aubépine) fournissent des «services» écologiques et esthétiques cruciaux ainsi que des fruits et des médicaments. et du bois. Au cours des 10 000 dernières années, ces espèces ont joué un rôle important dans la survie humaine – des deux côtés du Pacifique. Et comme ces arbres se sont adaptés aux êtres humains, il y a eu diverses formes de relations et de «domestications» entre les plantes et les humains. À mesure que les écosystèmes urbains se sont dégradés en Eurasie et en Amérique du Nord, ces petits arbres ont souvent persisté et créé de nouvelles opportunités pour la restauration de l’environnement, les espaces verts et la production alimentaire – ainsi que le renouveau culturel. Ce projet concerne les arts et les sciences de la décolonisation de la restauration et de l’expansion de ces bosquets et vergers historiques.

fruit (‘drupes’) of chokecherry, Prunus virginiana, August 2016, Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island (photograph by Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram and Alex Grünenfelder with montage made by Brochu-Ingram)

While these fruit and nut trees are part of large and complex gene pools, with some genotypes and species vulnerable to severe decline especially in southern Eurasia, few populations will and can be extinguished — especially in and around North American and European cities.

Bien que ces arbres fruitiers et à noyaux fassent partie de pools génétiques vastes et complexes, certains génotypes et espèces étant vulnérables à un déclin sévère en particulier dans le sud de l’Eurasie, peu de populations seront et pourront être éteintes – en particulier dans les villes nord-américaines et européennes.

 

What is ‘nearly lost’ is the body of cultural knowledge of more than 10,000 years of human dependance on and care of these ecological allies along with the attention span and observation skills  to see these little trees and what they contribute. And in exploring these lost (agri)cultures of native fruit trees, the attacks on indigenous knowledge in North America have been especially egregious. An even more profound loss has come about with the emergence of the 20th Century Eurocentric, consumer subject largely disconnecting aesthetics (and artists) from manual labour (of those who still interact with and tend these trees and fruits) — as explored in this project through the writings of Marcel Proust.

Ce qui est «presque perdu», c’est le corpus de connaissances culturelles de plus de 10 000 ans de dépendance et de soins de ces alliés écologiques ainsi que la capacité d’attention et d’observation pour voir ces petits arbres et leurs contributions. Et en explorant ces cultures (agricoles) perdues d’arbres fruitiers indigènes, les attaques contre les connaissances indigènes en Amérique du Nord ont été particulièrement flagrantes. Une perte encore plus profonde est survenue avec l’émergence de l’eurocentrique du 20ème siècle, sujet consommateur déconnectant largement l’esthétique (et les artistes) du travail manuel (de ceux qui interagissent et entretiennent toujours ces arbres et fruits) – comme exploré dans ce projet à travers les écrits de Marcel Proust..

Blooming chokecherry tree, Ruckle Provincial Park, Salt Spring Island, 2017 April 20
photograph take jointly by Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram and Alex Grunenfelder

Salish fruit tree species of the Gulf & San Juan Islands on the North-west Coast of North America

edible drupes of chokecherry, Prunus virginian a, above Fulford Harbour, just west of the historic Catholic Church, Salt Spring Island 2016 August 9 – 11 * photograph taken jointly by Alex Grünenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

Salish fruit tree species of the Gulf & San Juan Islands

Around the Salish Sea, there were more than six native, tree species that have been harvested and often carefully cultivated and stewarded for fruit, technology, and medicine. These orchards and respective cultivation practices span a rich set of Salish communities and languages. By ‘fruit tree’, we describe a relatively small deciduous tree that has been maintained by families and communities. With heights ranging from a meter and a half to three meters, these trees were often kept low in order to stimulate fruit production and allow for ease of picking (and more often through shaking with sticks). For some Salish fruit species, cultures and sites, orchards were maintained through planting of seed, transplanting, pruning, and light burning.

fruit of crabapple trees, Malus fusca, in a grove with a very long history of harvesting and stewardship (and now vulnerable to sea level rise) at the Cowichan village, Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2016 August 11 & 12 * photograph taken jointly by Alex Grünenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca

Of all of the fruit trees around the Salish Sea, this indigenous crabapple produced the most food and provided crucial amounts of carbohydrates and vitamins. Crabapples were eaten raw and preserved in water or eulachon oil in cedar boxes. And of the five, indigenous North American apples, only Malus fusca, is in the primary gene pool of the cultivated, Eurasian apple. Malus fusca grows near the coast of the North Pacific from central California to Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula and possibly to Hokkaido. Nancy Turner (2014: 59, 65) went as far as suggesting that this species was spread by early human migrants and consistently collected information from informants confirming that crabapple “[t]rees [were] tended pruned, lopped, and transplanted” (Turner 2014: 189).

blossoms of crabapple trees, Malus fusca, in a grove with a very long history of harvesting and stewardship (and now vulnerable to sea level rise) at the Cowichan village, Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2017 May 11 * photograph taken jointly by Jan Steinman, Ecoreality Cooperative & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

Perhaps more than any of the other native fruit tree species around the Salish Sea, crabapple trees were “owned” (Turner 2014: 189) often passing from mother to daughter. And in some North-West Coast indigenous cultures, Pacific crabapple was considered a particularly powerful plant central to a complex conception of transformative twigs (as in the cuttings and vegetative propagation so central to Salish horticulture) leading to magical expansions of life into entire ecosystems for human benefit (Turner 2014: 344). In turn, crabapple orchards or ‘gardens’ were often well maintained and pruned.

edible drupes of chokecherry, Prunus virginiana, above Fulford Harbour, just west of the historic Catholic Church, Salt Spring Island 2016 August 9 – 11 * photograph taken jointly by Alex Grünenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

Chokecherry, Prunus virginiana

This species of cherry tree is native to every province and territory in Canada. This particular cherry is relatively rare on the Pacific coast largely confined to the Salish Sea. Along the Pacific coast, from Salt Spring Island southward, this species is associated with better-watered sites in Garry oak woodlands and savannahs with this species, though perhaps a different subspecies, reappearing again near marine shorelines in Mendocino County, California.

blossoms of chokecherry, Prunus virginiana, above Fulford Harbour, just west of the historic Catholic Church, Salt Spring Island 2017 April 20 * photograph taken jointly by Jan Steinman, Ecoreality Cooperative & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

This, the most bountiful of the cherries of north-western North America, has close Eurasian relatives extending to Western Europe. Around the Salish Sea, chokecherry were widely harvested, traded (Turner 2014: 124), and tended (Turner 2014: 189). Chokecherry bark was a crucial ingredient in a number of medicinal decoctions (Turner 2014: 437). Distinct varieties of this species were recognized by some Salish communities. So far, the specimens recorded around the Salish Sea have been consistent with the North-West Coast subspecies, Prunus virginiana ssp. demissa.

bitter cherry blossoms above Beaver Point Road, Salt Spring Island 2019 April 29 P4290114 photograph by Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

Bitter cherry, Prunus emarginata

“The fruit of this ‘bitter cherry’ tree was not widely harvested but its wood was prized for knife handles and its bark was crucial for basket weaving” (Turner 2014: 124).

bitter cherry tree trunk above Beaver Point Road, Salt Spring Island 2019 April 29 P4290119

This species has a markedly different, physiology and ecology compared to the far more common chokecherry. Occurring in more shaded edges than chokecherry, this species tends to produce less fruit. And while chokecherry leaves often yellow and drop soon after fruiting in the first half of August, bitter cherry leaves (twice the size of chokecherry leaves) stay lush.

bitter cherry leaves on a tree above Beaver Point Road, Salt Spring Island 2019 August 19 P8190182

***

buds of Crataegus douglasii var douglasii about a week before blossoming at the Cowichan village, Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2017 April 25 * photograph taken jointly by Jan Steinman, Ecoreality Cooperative & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

Two species of black hawthorn

On the Gulf and San Juan Islands and other areas around the Salish Sea, there are two distinct species of black hawthorn:

blossoms of Crataegus douglasii var. douglasii just above the tide-line at the Cowichan village, Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2017 May 6 * photograph taken jointly by Alex Grünenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

Crataegus douglasii var. douglasii

and

blossoms of Crataegus douglasii var suksdorfii along Burgoyne Bay Road near the main provincial park parking lot, Salt Spring Island 2017 April 25 * photograph taken jointly by Jan Steinman, Ecoreality Cooperative & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

Crataegus douglasii var. suksdorfii

that is often considered a separate species in the United States as, Crataegus suksdorfii.

First Nations around the Salish Sea harvested the fruit and stewarded two species of Black hawthorn (Turner 2014: 272). “The dry sweetish fruits were eaten by the Island Salish groups, usually in the early fall. The Songhees ate them with salmon roe (Boas, 1890).[Turner & Bell]”

buds of Crataegus douglasii var douglasii about a week before blossoming above the beach just north of the Cowichan village, Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2017 May 6 * photograph taken jointly by Alex Grünenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

Crataegus douglasii var. douglasii  is often more associated with the mainland and interior of British Columbia, which occurs more often as a large shrub with some tree forms on the Gulf Islands. In contrast, the island subspecies or species of Black hawthorn, Crataegus douglasii var. suksdorfii (with a distribution more centred on the coast), is more often in a taller, tree form. The label Crataegus douglasii var. suksdorfii corresponds to a species identified in the United States including for the San Juan Islands as Crataegus suksdorfii differentiated as a distinct species because “It is diploid versus tetraploid for Crataegus douglasii.” As well as subtle but consistent differences in the leaves of these two black hawthorn species, a simple differentiation can be made by examining the centre of a blossom. The flowers of “Variation douglasii” nearly always have 10 stamens with ovaries that are more often hairy whereas the flowers of “Variation suksdorfii” have 20 stamens and the ovaries are usually smooth.

 

2018 October 1 a fruit of a volunteer hazelnut shrub, Corylus cornuta or possibly C. cornuta x avellana, along Beaver Point Road, Salt Spring Island near a recorded site for Corylus cornuta

California hazelnut, Corylus cornuta var. californica

California hazelnut occur near the West Coast of North America from California to Alaska and are closely related to Eurasian hazelnut species that occur as far west as north-western Spain. Within the populations on the North-West Coast of North America, there were two subspecies. The involucral ‘beaks’ attached to the nuts of Corylus cornuta var. cornuta are twice as long as the actual fruit / nut. In contrast, Corylus cornuta var. california fruit are attached to involucral beaks that are half that length and roughly the diameter of the sometimes  larger fruit (that might be the result of indigenous domestication, stewardship, and ecosystem management).

Hazelnut was transplanted on the BC coast (Turner 2014: 203 – 204) and groves were sometimes managed through burning (Turner 2014: 198). Hazelnut were sometimes transplanted (Turner 2014: 365). There are records of historical orchards in northern areas such as the lower Skeena Valley that well into the twentieth century were defended by First Nations who asserted dietary dependence, ownership and stewardship. Around the Salish Sea, records of significant groves are for sites near indigenous settlements and historical population centres. On the Gulf Islands, a significant record of ‘wild hazelnut’ was around Beaver Point Hall on Salt Spring Island just above the Tsawout / mixed Saanich and Cowichan village on the island’s south-east shore.

 

Along with chokecherry, two other species are common in many interior regions of British Columbia and further east in Canada, and are thought to have been more common around the Salish Sea before 5,000 b.p.

 

 

blossoms of Saskatoon berry, Amelanchier alnifolia, bove the beach just north of the Cowichan village, Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2017 April 25 * photograph taken jointly by Jan Steinman, Ecoreality Cooperative & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

blossoms of Saskatoon berry, Amelanchier alnifolia, bushes adjacent to some Garry oak woodland above the beach just north of the Cowichan village, Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2017 April 25 * * photograph taken jointly by Jan Steinman, Ecoreality Cooperative & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

Saskatoon berry, Amelanchier alnifolia, was transplanted by some First Nations in the region (Turner 203 – 204) as late as the early 20th Century.

 

Soapberry, Shepherdia canadensis,  is thought to have been more common on the Coast and more important dietarily than it is now (Turner 2014: 140 – 144). Along the coast and in the interior, soapberry patches were “maintained by landscape burning, bushes pruned, berries scattered” and “occasionally transplanted” (Turner 2014: 191)

a cultivated European apple tree, Malus sylvestris, planted at what is today Ruckle Provincial Park in the late 19th or early 20th century; around these old trees are second and third generation, ‘volunteer’ apple and pear trees, that most likely have hybridized with the adjacent Salish crabapple trees, Malus fusca, which is the only North American Malus species that can cross with cultivated Eurasian apple crops 2017 May 5 * photograph taken jointly by Jan Steinman, Ecoreality Cooperative & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

circumpolar Eurasian hybrids

All of the Salish fruit tree species, aside from Saskatoon berry and soapberry, are part of circumpolar gene pools with millennia of relationships with human beings and domestication processes — on both sides of Beringia. But there are some distinct differences between each side of the North Pacific. Nearly all of the petals of the Eurasian domesticates are one and a half to twice the size of the North American species. Another general difference between ‘wild’, traditionally stewarded, and indigenous, North American and domesticated and Eurasian, primarily north-western Europe, sides of those gene pools is this simple dichotomy:

aside from the Island species of black hawthorn, Crataegus douglasii var. suksdorfii / Crataegus suksdorfii, which blossoms simultaneously with slow leafing, the North American native fruit trees nearly always leaf-out a week or two BEFORE blossoming

while

the Eurasian domesticates nearly always produce blossoms before they leaf out.

And on the Gulf Islands there are circumpolar hybrids where blossoming and leafing are more simultaneous such as a probable,

hybrid of native bitter cherry, Prunus emarginata, and introduced, north-western European blackthorn or sloe, Prunus spinosa, that began to reproduce without cultivation starting in the twentieth century on Salt Spring Island, where blossoms and fruit begin with a double cluster several inches from the end of each branch like bitter cherry, with petals large like a European domesticate, and blossoming and leafing relatively simultaneous.

***

The Turner 2014 references above refers to the most definitive survey, so far, of indigenous tree crops in British Columbia:

Nancy J. Turner. 2014. Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume Two – The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Volume One is also crucial for understanding the human relationships with these species of fruit trees.

a blooming grove of crabapple trees, Malus fusca, with a very long history of harvesting and stewardship (and now vulnerable to sea level rise) at the Cowichan village, Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2017 May 11 * photograph taken jointly by Jan Steinman, Ecoreality Cooperative & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

Some circumpolar tree crop gene pools spanning Western Europe & Pacific Canada

2015 Utopiana, Geneva, themed residency ‘La Bête et l’adversité’

A collaboration of castle grünenfelder ingram
À la recherche de certaines récoltes presque perdu: Decolonising permaculture:
The greatest adversity comes from forgetting

2006 June 30 crabapple Belly-Rising-Up - Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

2006 June 30 Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca, 
Belly-Rising protected landscape, 
south-eastern corner of Tsawout Indian Reserve, 
Saanich, Vancouver Island

Some circumpolar tree crop gene pools
spanning Western Europe & Pacific Canada

 

Well over five crop gene pools are spread in an almost continuous arc from Western Europe, through Eurasia, to North America. We focus on four gene pools that produce fruit and that can thrive in small, urban public spaces:

Malus species including apple, pear and crabapple;

Prunus species including plum and cherries;

Corylus species all producing similar kinds of hazelnuts;

Rubus including raspberry and blackberry;

and

Vaccinium including blueberries and huckleberries.

2007 June 5 Salish crabapple - Malus fusca - Belly-Rising-Up Tsawout Saanich - Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

2007 June 5 Salish crabapple, Malus fusca, 
Belly-Rising-Up protected landscape, 
south-eastern corner of Tsawout Indian Reserve,
Saanich, Vancouver Island

The many species in these gene pools were shaped by traditional communities in both Eurasia and the Americas and our project here explores the contemporary knowledge and engagements with these gene pools in the region around Geneva spanning Romandie and eastern France and a similarly sized region on the West Coast of North America: around the Salish Sea including the metropolitan areas of Vancouver and Seattle. There is an increasing body of knowledge suggesting that some of the populations of these fruit trees on the West Coast of North America have been enriched by marine and land-based peoples moving east across the now-inundated land bridge, Beringia, at various periods over the last 14,000 years.

Analyses descriptive du RUBUS 1891

Both regions share similar latitudes and climates but differ markedly in their relationship to colonial and decolonial processes. Switzerland, as a whole, thrived on the edges of the Western European empires and that legacy is the basis of new, multinational corporate ventures that while undermining local traditional knowledge about fruit crops has not been lethal to local communities.

crab-apple 21 6 2004 Belly-Rising-Up - Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

2004 June 21 Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca, 
Belly-Rising protected landscape, 
south-eastern corner of Tsawout Indian Reserve, 
Saanich, Vancouver Island

In contrast, the Salish Sea gene pools, modified and managed for millennia by indigenous Salish language-speaking communities, are under threat not only from habitat change but from the loss of local languages and the cultural knowledge to which it is tied. In this context, a growing body of legal decisions have given Salish communities in Canada a basis to intervene to protect traditional lands and resources.

Swiss Flora for Tourists 1889

Curiously, a number of mid-19th Century fruit trees, planted by the first settlers, have naturalized and hybridized with local species. These introgression processes can be important for the evolution and survival of these wild and traditional tree crop populations, thickets and orchards especially in the face of climate change and environmental stress.

Rubus 1889 The Flora of Switzerland

In exploring the exploring ways to reintroduce individual trees and small orchards, of these progenitor populations, into the public spaces of both urban Geneva and Vancouver – Seattle, we are exploring the following wild and traditional tree crop species and their associated human cultures.

West Coast of Canada / Salish Sea / Puget Sound*
MALUS (apple, pear, crabapple)
Malus fusca
PRUNUS (plum & cherry)
Prunus emarginata
Prunus virginiana
CORYLUS (hazelnut)
Corylus cornuta
RUBUS (raspberry & blackberry)
Rubus leucodermis Rubus parviflorus
Rubus spectabilis Rubus ursinus
VACCINIUM (blueberry, cranberry, huckleberry)
Vaccinium ovatum Vaccinium oxycoccos Vaccinium parvifolium
*(with a focus on the Gulf Islands the location of KEXMIN field station)

imprint - Analyses descriptive du RUBUS 1891

While based at Utopiana, we will searching out the following species and associated communities and cultural landscapes.

Western Europe with a focus on Switzerland, France, and adjacent regions
MALUS (apple, pear)
Malus sylvestris
We may well also find populations that could better correspond to some the following labels.
Malus acerba
Malus communis
Malus dasyphylla
Malus florentina
Malus praecox
Malus pumila
Malus trilobata

PRUNUS (plum & cherry)
Prunus avium
Prunus brigantina
Prunus cerasifera
Prunus cerasus
Prunus cocomilia
Prunus fruticosa
Prunus mahaleb
Prunus prostrata
Prunus pumila
Prunus spinosa
If there is time and over the longer term, we may search out populations elsewhere in Europe with labels such as the following:
Prunus fruticans
Prunus laurocerasus
Pruns ramburii
Prunus serotina
Prunus tenella
Prunus webbii

CORYLUS (hazelnut)
Corylus avellana

RUBUS (raspberry & blackberry)
The nomenclature of Rubus species in Western Europe is fabulously unstable and overlapping. So we expect to encounter species that correspond to these labels and well as those associated with more modernized taxonomies.
Rubus australis
Rubus catsius
Rubus cesius
Rubus foliis
Rubus fruticosus
Rubus hispidus
Rubus idaeus
Rubus idzus
Rubus landoltii
Rubus occidentalis
Rubus rhombicus
Rubus rosaefolius
Rubus saxitilis
Rubus tomentosus

VACCINIUM (blueberry and cranberry)
Vaccinium microcarpum
Vaccinium myrtillus
Vaccinium oxycoccos
Vaccinium uliginosum
Vaccinium vitis-idaea

2004 June 21 blackcap - Rubus leucodermis Belly-Rising-Up Tsawout - Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram2004 June 21 blackcap raspberry, 
Rubus leucodermis, 
Belly-Rising-Up protected landscape, 
south-eastern corner of Tsawout Indian Reserve, 
Saanich, Vancouver Island

 

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