On the vexed question of indigenous mobility (on lack of mobility and associated dysfunction as disconnection from land): Moss E. Norman, LeAnne Petherick, Eric Garcia, Cheryl Glazebrook, Gordon Giesbrecht, Todd Duhamel, ‘Examining the more-than-built environments of a northern Manitoban community: Re-conceptualizing rural indigenous mobilities’, Journal of Rural Studies, 42, 2015, pp. 166–178


Abstract: In this paper, we argue that standard built environmental accounts of obesity and physical inactivity offer little insight into the multiplicity of power relations that shape the localized mobility practices of rural places. In making this argument, we draw upon literature from with the “new mobilities paradigm” in qualitatively examining the multiple ruralities and rural mobilities of the Swampy Cree of the northern Canadian community, Lynn Lake, Manitoba. We argue that environmental accounts of mobility need to broaden their lens to consider those more-than-built-environmental, historical, cultural, economic and social forces that shape the practices and meanings of movements in rural locales, generally, and Indigenous rural communities, more specifically. In addition to our critique, we also draw attention to the hopeful geographies that reflected the participants’ connection to the land, where the land played a pivotal role in fostering, sustaining, and restoring Indigenous physical cultural mobilities. We conclude by pushing back against dominant built environmental discourse that proposes to ‘cure the environment’ as a means of promoting active health. Instead, we suggest that resolving disputed land claims and restoring Indigenous territorial control over ancestral lands may be more conducive to fostering sustainable physical cultural mobilities that, in the long run, may be more health enhancing.

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