University of Alberta will host a conference in Camrose on November 1 and 2 to foster dialogue around spiritual connection to land and place. Cosponsored by the Chester Ronning Centre, the U of A – Augustana Campus, and the Aboriginal Student Office, the conference follows its predecessor, “Responsibility for the Land – Conversations on Fracking in Alberta”, which was held in the fall of 2012, and organized by a group of dedicated students concerned about the political and ecological issues of hydraulic fracturing.
This year, we hope to deepen our scope to include the spiritual dimensions of our ecological challenges. Alongside a host of newcomers, last year’s conference organizers will collaborate with First Nations leaders, farmers, scholars, and ecologists to create an open floor for Albertans hoping to foster a deeper connection to land and community. Guiding the conference is a belief in collaboration, understanding, and above all the cultivation of relationships and community, with community including both the people and the land that supports and nourishes us.
The conference will feature Sylvia McAdam, one of the founders of Idle No More, and Janice Makokis, a First Nations scholar in Alberta. We will also hear from Dr. Roger Epp, former Dean of Augustana and current Political Science Professor at the University of Alberta, Lorne Fitch, award winning conservation biologist, and Chris Turner, bestselling Canadian author of “A Geography of Hope”. The conference will also host a panel of young and seasoned farmers including Takota Coen, Don Ruzicka, and Brenda Barritt, who will share their land ethic in practice. Round table discussions will be an important part of the conference and will encourage all participants to further the conversation and envision how we might collectively create a community land ethic.
All who are interested in the conference are welcome to join us on November 1 in the evening and all day on Saturday the 2nd and to take part and contribute their voices to the conversation. Whether or not you are able to attend, please register or connect with us on our website (spiritoftheland.ca) which has many Augustana students, community members, and others sharing their thoughts on connection to place, community, and spirituality.
The Spirit of the Land Team