In the first session of the “Visioning” module, co-facilitators Lickerman and Stoltzfus supported participants in unlearning mainstream views on the origins of climate organizing. Together, participants examined the case study of the Great Dismal Swamp in the United States, with an emphasis on the perspectives the Nanticoke people and Black Maroon communities in the 1700s-1900s. Participants then studied Leanne Simpson’s concept of “Constellations of Coresistance,” joining their individual case studies into global constellations of racialized climate organizing.
Examining the case study of the Great Dismal Swamp
Joining individual case studies into “Constellations of Coresistance”
Recentering climate pasts on life-giving relationships with land
Slides from “Visioning Climate Pasts”
Co-facilitators Lickerman and Stoltzfus supported participants in developing alternative understandings of climate pasts that challenge mainstream views exceptionalizing the current climate crisis. By examining the case study of the Great Dismal Swamp, Lickerman and Stoltzfus challenged participants to consider the importance of communities on the frontlines of root cause ideologies of climate change. The group was then introduced to Leanne Simpson’s “Constellations of Coresistance” and challenged to apply this framework to the global context of their own case studies.
The case study of the Great Dismal Swamp
To challenge mainstream narratives that trace the climate movement to the 1950s, co-facilitators Lickerman and Stoltsfuz familiarzed participants with the Great Dismal Swamp, a wetland on the territory of the Nanticoke people that is culturally and historically important for numerous Indigenous nations and Black Maroon communities. Through the example of the Great Dismal Swamp, participants explored alternatives to mainstream understandings of climate pasts, recentering the histories of racialized groups on the frontlines of root cause ideologies of climate change.
During this conversation, it became apparent that few participants were aware of the existence of Maroon communities, including the Maroon community of the Great Dismal Swamp. Participants expressed a strong interest in learning more. For popular news coverage of the Maroon community of the Great Dismal Swamp, please see “The Great Dismal Swamp” by Sharif Youssef.
Racialized climate issues in a “Constellation of Coresistance” (Leanne Simpson)
Co-facilitators Lickerman and Stoltzfus led the group through Leanne Simpson’s “Constellations of Coresistance”. During this exercise, participants were prompted to reflect on grounds for solidarity among their own individual case studies. In small groups, participants then created their own “constellations” of re-visioned climate pasts.