Laurence Butet-Roch

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Laurence Butet-Roch is pursuing a PhD in Environmental Studies at York, where she analyzes the discourses advanced by the visual narratives associated with environmental contamination and systemic environmental racism in Canada and looks back at the work she’s produced as a photographer in places where communities must navigate a tense, complex and often conflicting, relation with resource extraction such as Thetford Mines and Aamjiwnaang First Nation. This follows the completion of a Master of Digital Media at Ryerson University that explored how to foster a more generative and inclusive interactive media landscape, where people usually kept to the margins can share their stories in ways that respect and reflect their storytelling traditions. She now teaches Interactive Storytelling at her Alma Mater, while continuing to write about photography for publications such as Aperture, The British Journal of Photography, PhotoLife, Point of View and many others.

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1. Fireworks conclude Solidarity day, also known as National Aboriginal day, held on June 21st. It was instituted 20 years ago, roughly 14 years after the Assembly of First Nations called for it. June 2016.

2. Kids play with glow in the dark beach balls while waiting for the Solidarity day fireworks to start. The community’s baseball field is located across from the Arlanxeo plant, which manufactures synthetic rubber. The products using their materials range from tires, to pharmaceutical injection vials and chewing gum. June 2016.

3. In the summer of 2014, hundreds of households in Bkejwanong First Nation (Walpole Island) had their water shut off. Community members and neighbours from Aamjiwnaang and Aazhoodena First Nation (Kettle and Stony Point) members rallied for a 120km walk connecting all their lands along Lake Huron and the St.Clair River to raise awareness and honour Mother Earth. Smudge was used throughout to ensure the participants were entering this journey with a good mind and good heart. August 2014.

4. Backdrop is a plan showing surrenders, expropriations and lands having no record of sale within Original Sarnia Indian Reserve No.45 [now Aamjiwnaang First Nation] drafted by ‘Indian’ and Northern Affairs Canada [now Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada]. The green demarcation represents the boundaries of Aamjiwnaang as defined by Treaty 29 signed in 1827. The yellow, the current boundaries of Aamjiwnaang. The red, major petrochemical sites. The images superimposed are of Aamjiwnaang community activities. Exhibition Installation, Photograph by Laurence Butet-Roch