I found my father when I was in my late 20s and he took me home to Sioux Lookout. It was the first time I had been home since leaving as a toddler and I did not know what to expect, going home is fraught with hopes and unrealistic expectations and I had plenty of both
What I had not expected was the undeniable sensation that the land and water remembered me. I stood on the edge of the lake and put my hands in the water and it remembered me.
I can’t tell you how or why I knew that, but it was completely unexpected, this sensation of being remembered that I can only describe as electric.
What about those who can’t return to the lands that would remember them? Migrants like my maternal family who, in fleeing violence, are forever cut off from the land that knew them.
Or the Black diaspora, people forcibly displanted again and again who may not even know which land held their ancestors.
But the land is alive, and perhaps the land we call Africa carried stories to the shore, maybe on mycelium networks that stretch for miles underground, maybe trees whispered to each other, memories and knowledge carried on the dust that blows from the Sahara across the Atlantic.
Perhaps the sea, a primeval creature of long memory, accepts the burden of these stories and bears them on waves; gathering them along with the heartbeats and tears of those who did not complete the crossing.
In this way the stories wash up on the shore and are carried inland, shared in low murmurings until they push up from the earth and offer medicine and belonging to this new world.

Native people will tell you, look for the medicine that shows up.
I asked Kerry what medicine shows up for her and she said she feels called to the water. The waters of the Great Lakes carried Paddle-to-the-Sea all the way from Nipigon to the Atlantic Ocean. Maybe they carry the knowledge of her back to her ancestors.
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