Abby Maxwell


Through an exploration of witches, mycelium, and fermentation, this research seeks to forward a critically anti-colonial project of reimagining the white settler relationship to land. The centuries-old socio-ecological crises being unveiled today are secondary only to the reigning logic-project of whiteness, which operates through gendered and racialized erasure, displacement, and subjugation, always toward the further spreading of whiteness. To unlearn this logic, white settlers must attune to the pulse of another substrate; unearth other stories as a means of unlearning and reorienting ourselves. In my position as a white settler and cis queer woman living and learning on the territories of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples, I argue that the regeneration of community and ecosystem wellbeing must be prefaced by two-fold projects of decolonization – the unsettling return of land, resources, and power, and of anti-colonial white settler reconnection to land – the renewal of a kinship with the more-than-human, with place, with each other – without appropriating Indigenous ways of relating. White settlers must craft a relationality that is ours, which positions us within and of our ecosystems. By looking back at European histories of people and plants, and around to ecological patterns as loci of reimagining, this paper dreams up a white settler relationship to land defined by reciprocity, accountability, and care. I explore Euro-descendent forms of earth-based spirituality and relationality as associated with various ecological models such as mycelial networks and fermentive microbial processes with a geographical focus on Turtle Island.

Author Biography

The author writes as a white settler on the territories of the Lekwungen (Songhees and Esquimalt Nations) and W̱SÁNEĆ (Tsartlip/W̱JOȽEȽP, Tseycum/WSIḴEM, Tsawout/SȾÁUTW, and Pauquachin/BOḰEĆEN Nations).