Sayward, British Columbia
In memory of Faraz Khodabandeh,
Deep in the Vancouver Island wilderness, it is clear why coastal tree planting is for veterans. The land is rough, steeply slanted and strewn everywhere with the collective detritus known as ‘slash.’ If the work that preceded was hard on the land, tree planting is equally hard on the bodies that replenish it. The hazards of the task are many. And yet summer after summer, many planters return to ‘bag up.’
On a Saturday afternoon in Dharavi, one of Mumbai’s largest slums, my guide Shekar leads me through narrow corridors, his feet bare in religious observation, past colourful, crowded homes and over open drains whose concrete covers have been mostly dismantled for their valuable rebar cores. We are looking for cricket in non-standard places, and we find it, tucked between shrines and mopeds, pressed up against walls, and tip-toed atop various scatterings of urban detritus . . .
In the winter of 2009, Drake and Jowje were expecting their third child. An Aboriginal couple in their early twenties, Drake was working construction whenever work was available while Jowje cared for their two boys — Hunter, age three, and Toby, eight months. Lucy was born in the spring. Shortly thereafter, under the strain of failed attempts to find an adequate home for three children on one income — even in the relative affordability of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside — Drake and Jowje opted to put Lucy and Hunter into temporary foster care . . .
British Columbia, Canada
The reserves of the In-SHUCK-ch Nation are scattered along both sides of British Columbia’s Lillooet River in an expanse of traditional territory stretching 100km north and south between the towns of Pemberton and Harrison Lake. Like many of Canada’s indigenous communities, the settlements of the In-SHUCK-ch exist in isolation; poverty is rampant and infrastructure dearly lacking, and with limited access to health and education resources, the communities of the Lillooet River Valley can be seen to represent a continuation of what has too often been referred to as the “Indian Problem” . . .
Chilliwack, British Columbia
That morning I witnessed three generations of Sto:lo haul nets and clean fish on the sandy banks of the Fraser. Young boys hand-lined on shore, regaling me with stories of 12-foot-100-year sturgeon while their mothers, fathers and grandparents sorted nets in nearby skiffs. The salmon were literally everywhere - around ankles in boat-bottoms, tangled in bow nets spilling onto the sand, lying belly-up on gutting tables, flying through the air on their way to ice boxes and packed tight in the back of trucks . . .