Claim, Reclaim, Unclaim: Foregrounding Place-Based Solidarities in the Eco-Cultural Revitalization of a Post-Mining Landscape on the Klamath River
Post-mining landscapes (PMLs) such as TishÃ¡nik, located on the Mid-Klamath River in Karuk Aboriginal Territory, are sites of historic and ongoing settler colonial violence. While PMLs are emblematic of extractive relationships to land and a logic of elimination, they are also sites of enduring indigeneity and resurgence. Mining activities on Karuk lands have led to a massive reshuffling of matter that has reconfigured human and more-than human relationships, threatening Karuk ways of life. Through “claiming,” miners converted more-than-human relations into resources and waste. Resources were mobilized to distant places, serving as raw material to fuel empire, expansion, and globalization. Vast quantities of disjointed material, understood as waste, were left behind at PMLs. Severed from their relations and out of place, these materials now impede Karuk eco-cultural practices and threaten all forms of life. While current approaches to “reclaiming” PMLs grapple with the ecological impacts of these forms of waste, I argue that reclamation generally serves to reproduce settler colonialism. As an alternative, I present an “unclaiming” framework that seeks to disrupt settler colonial structures in landscape architecture practice by foregrounding place-based solidarities in the eco-cultural revitalization of PMLs. I employ a material flow approach at TishÃ¡nik in an effort to resituate two disruptive and out of place materials that were impacted by historic mining back into the web of relations to support Karuk eco-cultural practices. By centering resurgence and co-production, “unclaiming” endeavors towards alternative, non-settler futurities through the generation of vital emergent knowledges that result from reciprocal and nonhierarchical place-based practices.
- Landscape architecture