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Kendra E. Fortin, Chris Hurst and Bryan S.R. Grimwood Title : Travel, Land and Settlerhood: A Collective Memory Work Study

3:00 PM, Monday 21 Jun 2021 (30 minutes)
Travel, Land and Settlerhood: A Collective Memory Work Study


Kendra E. Fortin

Chris Hurst


Bryan S.R. Grimwood

Tourism experiences, memories and narratives are inscribed with meanings of land and identity. Activities often associated with Canadian summers, such as camping and cottaging, convey a façade of simplistic living. However, these pursuits are made possible through the historical and ongoing displacement of Indigenous peoples and the attempted erasure of Indigenous histories. Drawing from theoretical insights associated with settler colonial studies and collective memory work (CMW), the purpose of this study was to illuminate the multiple and contested meanings of land conveyed in tourism memory narratives of Settler Canadians. As part of a multi-day nature-based tourism experience in July 2019, 14 students enrolled in an upper-year eco-tourism course participated in a CMW process with the course instructor and teaching assistant. To emphasize the equal position of those partaking in the CMW process, all participants were referred to as co-researchers. This study consisted of two main methods of data generation. First, each co-researcher wrote two stories recounting personal travel memories: one that demonstrated genuinely Canadian qualities, and one that demonstrated genuinely Indigenous qualities. The written memory narratives were each 200-500 words in length, used a pseudonym, and written in third person. As a group, co-participants then read the narratives aloud and discussed the deeper meanings present in the personal memories. These group discussions were recorded and transcribed for further analysis and theorization. In this presentation, we report on thematic outcomes associated with two questions: (1) what meanings of land were conveyed by co-participants in the CMW process? and, (2) how are settler identities shaped by the meanings of land conveyed through the collective memory work process? Emerging from our thematic analysis of the qualitative data were several meanings, relating to land as an organizer, connector, educator, and sustainer. These meanings informed further analysis that illuminated how Settler colonizer identities are both perpetuated and resisted through travel. Particularly, Settler colonizer identities were upheld through travel stories that romanticized Canadian culture and history, thereby perpetuating incomplete and misconstrued land histories. However, the CMW process also helped co-participants begin to unravel the ways in which they are implicated in settler colonialism and thus responsible for advancing decolonization and reconciliation. These study outcomes build upon emerging scholarship on tourism and settler colonialism and contributes p

University of Waterloo
University of Waterloo
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