Sila, Sky Woman and Puhpowee: Reflections from Greenland, (work in progress)

Tinna Grétarsdóttir

In times when Gaia “has the power to question us all” (Stengers 2015:12), humans have come to the moment of reconfiguring their humanity and relations with the world. Our species’ doings have evoked “the intrusion of Gaia” (ibid) which cannot be undone with techno-scientific solutions. While grasping how to inherit human history and survive on a planet in chilling transformation, we, the participants in the Chill Survive, have been weaving a meshwork of trails in the Arctic while attempting to spin human/non-human narratives and practices for the future North (see Ingold 2010).

In Greenland I was introduced to the indigenous concept of Sila, which is somewhat akin to the concept of Gaia, as argued by the Métis and anthropologist Zoe Todd (2016). At the National Museum in Nuuk, Sila is explained as a unity of the climate, the weather, the breath of a living being, consciousness and mind. As such, it interconnects human-nature relationships.

To read full essay, click here.

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