Dakota Bear Sanctuary, an ancient forest in traditional and unceded Skwxwú7mesh territory on the Sunshine Coast, has been threatened with logging for the last decade.
In August 2020, The Only Animal brought the Artist Brigade there, and unleashed a hive of artistic creation intended to protect this forest. The artists saw some of BC’s oldest trees, crawled inside bear dens, snacked on wild blueberries, and learned the history. On the traditional lands of the Skwxwú7mesh Nation, we gathered around the pre-contact Culturally Modified Trees. Then the artists pitched pieces from their artistic impulses that might help protect the forest. We invite you to experience those pieces in our online gallery: Bill Hawley’s bus shelter advertisements, James King’s poetry, Jessica Harvey’s music video, Teo Saefkow’s sound walk and films by Trent Maynard and Sophia Dagher.
Be sure to also check out Our Ancient Forest, a project about the Dakota Bear Sanctuary, curated by Sadira Rodrigues in collaboration with The Only Animal, the Living Forest Institute and Elphinstone Logging Focus.
On March 1, 2021, the Skwxwú7mesh Nation announced that Dakota Bear Sanctuary was removed from the cutblock list and will be protected permanently.
The Skwxwú7mesh Nation, the Province, and the forest defenders at Elphinstone Logging Focus and Living Forest Institute all have our deep gratitude. And you out there, if you signed a petition, sent a letter or postcard, are a member of the Artist Brigade or shared that work, this sweet victory belongs to you.
Bear With Me is brought to you by The Only Animal’s Artist Brigade. The Artist Brigade brings the arts and artists to the front lines of the climate movement. The goal is to bring artistic imagination, vision and the heart into the telling of the climate story in order to mobilize a society paralyzed by climate anxiety and grief. It is a leaderless, national movement to spark exponential growth of climate action.