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MFA student confronts history with 300-kilometre trek through Ontario’s Haldimand Tract

News Release Release Date: May 26, 2016 3:00 p.m.

On June 12, Ken Wilson, a MFA student in the University of Regina’s Department of Theatre, will embark on a 300-kilometre walk through the contested Haldimand Tract in southwestern Ontario as part of a performance called Muscle and Bone. Starting in Dundalk ON, on June 12, the walk will take 15 days, concluding at Lake Erie on June 27.

“When I learned about the history of the area last year, I decided this walk was something I had to do,” Wilson says.

The Haldimand Tract, a 950,000 acre strip of land on both sides of the Grand River, was reserved for the Six Nations through the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784. The current Six Nations reserve outside Brantford, ON covers just five per cent of the original reserve. Some of the remainder was sold, but most of it was stolen; the bottom third of the tract is the subject of 28 land claims launched by the Six Nations in the 1980s and 1990s.

Wilson, who grew up in Brantford, felt ashamed when he learned about this history and, in response, has decided to walk through the Haldimand Tract as a performance. Because a faith keeper at Six Nations told him this would be a spiritual journey for him, he describes the walk as a pilgrimage – not unlike the Camino de Santiago in Spain, which he completed in 2013.

“Both walks are about experiencing a particular history and geography on foot,” Wilson says.

Wilson is also encouraging people to donate to the Woodland Cultural Centre’s “Save the Evidence” campaign, which is raising funds to repair the former residential school in Brantford and create a museum about residential schools.

Wilson will be blogging about the walk at www.muscleandboneblog.wordpress.com. 

Contact:

Ken Wilson

(306) 536-3125

 

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