We Are the Land We Sing
Singing love songs to land and life leads us on the part of connectivity
with all life.
We sing as a way of opening hearts and finding voice. We are moved to action
that awakens a new reverence for life, quickens the struggle for justice,
peace and sustainable living, and joyfully celebrates life.
Women~Land~Spirt a Sacred Web is a western Canadian based movement of women
who gather in circles to sing and to give creative and artistic expression
to deep connectivity with and reverence for land and all of life. As we sing
love songs to land and life we find ourselves more deeply in love with life.
The roots of this movement can be traced to any number of seeds. One of
those seeds was planted in community by the placing of a question. Carolyn
McDade, poet, composer, feminists and lover of life, whose home is by ocean,
came to be with us on this land of wide prairie.
In 1995 Carolyn came to Prairie Christian Training Centre for a three-month
artist and feminist in residence at Prairie Christian Training Centre. She
came to us with a question and placed it amongst us... "Will you take me to
land that you love?"
I responded to the question by taking Carolyn and others to Grandmothers
Hills. According to the RM Map the location is Loon Creek a tributary of the
Qu'Appelle Valley. It is 8 miles north of Piapot First Nation and eight
miles south of Markinch. The title to this piece of remnant prairie has been
with our family for the three generations since the Blasers' have been here.
In early December of 2001 for the first time in my memory, tee pee rings
revealed themselves on this land. Home to the First Peoples before white
The social location of this land is that it lies on a deep and shifting
fault line. The land is located in a place where neighbors, First Nations
and white settlers live parallel lives. The economic location of the land is
right in the middle of pressing forces placed on land and farmers by the
global corporate "productivist agenda " to address world hunger. Farming
practices are driven by this agenda, which are high tech, highly industrial,
highly interventionist and export oriented. The agenda is not working for
address global hunger, it is not working for farmers and it is depleting the
land while placing the control of food into the hands of global corporations
like Monsanto and Aventis.
"Will you take me to the land you love?" Singing is a way of opening our
heart to all of life. Singing has led us to look at life and land with new
eyes and hearts.
"Oh, how can I say this: People need wild places. Whether or not we think we
do, we do. We need to be able to taste grace and know once again that we
desire it. We need to experience a landscape that is timeless, whose agenda
moves at the pace of speciation and glaciers. To be surrounded by a singing,
mating, howling commotion of other species, all of which love their lives a
much as we do ours, and none of which could possibly care less about our
economic status or our running day calendar. Wildness puts us in our place.
It reminds us that our plans are small and somewhat absurd. It reminds us
why, in those cases in which our plans might influence many future
generations, we ought to choose carefully. Looking out on a clean plank of
planet earth, we can get shaken right down to the bone by the bronze-eyed
possibility of lives that are not our own." Small Wonder essays by (Barbara
Kingsolver) p. 41.
Solidarity between people and land
From a letter written by Carolyn McDade on Canada Day 1999 to the singers of
the Sacred Web, as we prepared for the recording of 'We're the Land We Sing.
"I want this earth to thrive. I want solidarity of people with land to
overtake my life. I want to throw myself upon the wet sand of my home, my
heart to the heart of this land, beat for beat. I want my breathe to know
that it is the wind that sings through my lungs breathe as I hunger for
theirs. I want nothing to come between me and this love, no possession or
agenda or plan for some elusive security.
"We awaken to what we once knew: we are alive in a living Earth, source of
all we are and can achieve. Despite our conditioning by the industrial
society of the last two centuries we want to name, once again, this world as