Getting home from work: narrating settler home In British Columbia's small resource communities




Keane, Stephanie

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Stories of home do more than contribute to a culture that creates multiple ways of seeing a place: they also claim that the represented people and their shared values belong in place; that is, they claim land. Narrators of post-war B.C. resource communities create narratives that support residents’ presence although their employment, which impoverishes First Nations people and destroys ecosystems, runs counter to contemporary national constructions of Canada as a tolerant and environmentalist community. As the first two chapters show, neither narratives of nomadic early workers nor those of contemporary town residents represent values that support contemporary settler communities’ claims to be at home, as such stories associate resource work with opportunism, environmental damage, race- and gender-based oppression, and social chaos. Settler residents and the (essentially liberal) values that make them the best people for the land are represented instead through three groups of alternate stories, explored in Chapters 3-5: narratives of homesteading families extending the structure of a “good” colonial project through land development and trade; narratives of contemporary farmers who reject the legacy of the colonial project by participating in a sustainable local economy in harmony with local First Nations and the land; and narratives of direct supernatural connection to place, where the land uses the settler (often an artist or writer) as a medium to guide people to meet its (the land’s) needs. All three narratives reproduce the core idea that the best “work” makes the most secure claim to home, leading resource communities to define themselves in defiance of heir industries. Authors studied include Jack Hodgins, Anne Cameron, Susan Dobbie, Patrick Lane, Gail Anderson-Dargatz,D.W. Wilson, Harold Rhenisch, M.Wylie Blanchet, Susan Juby, and Howard White.



Canadian Literature, Jack Hodgins, Anne Cameron, Gail Anderson Dargatz, Home, Place, Patrick Lane, D.W. Wilson, Logging Poetry, Resource Towns, British Columbia, Susan Dobbie, Howard White, M.Wylie Blanchet, George Bowering, Alan Pritchard, Laurie Ricou, Eva Mackey, Elizabeth Furniss, British Columbian mill towns, British Columbian Mining Towns, British Columbian Literature, colonialism, Susan Juby, Jack Mould, Ian McKay, Harold Rhenisch