Provocation 4: 

Tania Willard
︎ Visit Tania’s website
︎ Native-Land website

Provocation 4:  A Five-Step Site/ation

1. Take the Day off.
Take a day off, demand the right to just be. Cancel all zoom or online events. Give yourself permission.

2. Next go outside.
Know whose Indigenous territory you are on this website.

3. What can you learn from the land today? How do you read the land? How can the knowledge in and of the land be cited?
Write a site/ation of the knowledge you gained from the land today (cite me if you publish/ share it as well as the bushgallery art collective). See example below:

Site/ation of Secwepemculecw, 2021, my home territory
Deer hair, weathered cedar, birchbark, charcoal, bone, stones, paper, grass
March weather as Spring approaches

4. Rest.

5. Once you have completed the above at some point in the near future please contribute to a cause, as a volunteer, through donating funds or attending a protest/signing petition/using your democratic rights. Activate, Amplify, Decolonize!

Thank you for your participation.


Tania Willard, Secwepemc Nation and settler heritage, works within the shifting ideas around contemporary and traditional, often working with bodies of knowledge and skills that are conceptually linked to her interest in intersections between Indigenous and other cultures. Willard’s curatorial work includes the touring exhibition, Beat Nation: Art Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture (2012-2014), co-curated with Kathleen Ritter. In 2016 Willard received the Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art from the Hanatyshyn Foundation as well as a City of Vancouver Book Award for the catalogue for the exhibition Unceded Territories: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun. Willard’s artistic projects have been exhibited widely and collections of her work include the Vancouver Art Gallery, Kamloops Art Gallery, Burnaby Art Gallery and more. Her public Art projects include, Rule of the Trees, a public art project at Commercial Broadway sky train station, in Vancouver BC Canada and If the Drumming Stops, with artist Peter Morin and Cheryl L’Hirondelle, on the lands of the Papaschase First Nation in Edmonton, AB. Willard was awarded the VIVA art award for outstanding achievement and commitment in her art practice in 2020. Willard's ongoing collaborative project BUSH gallery, is a land-based gallery grounded in Indigenous knowledges. Willard is an Assistant Professor at UBC Okanagan in Syilx territories and her current research intersects with land-based art practices.


Daniel H.C.

Nic O.

Site-ation of Hohokam, 2021, My home:Net-leaf hackberry, Stag-horn cholla, Deserbloom. Cold morning air. It feels like one of last cool spring mornings before the summer heat of may.My Crossroads Altar.I can’t believe how much resistance my body felt to separating myself from my electronics. I feel like it was a withdrawal after the way that I have been tied to these electric rectangles. At first, the pangs were more apparent. It was most difficult to leave everything behind in the car and realize that I would absolutely be able to find my way back. I only meant to spend the morning on a nice long hike. I think that it’s so surprising to me that I have lived near these mountains for months and yet, this is the first time that I have allowed myself to rest and to truly enjoy the land that I have been living on. I took a moment to gather a few beautiful pieces of the nature around me and thank the ground for letting me live here. It’s so fascinating how often we take everything around us for granted. While I was up above the city, it really made me realize how small I truly am in this world sometimes. Up high in the clouds, its not easy to make out each distinguishable face on the streets down below. I could hardly see the cars. I am part of a single breath of time for this earth. This day away from the screen was so necessary, I did not realize how the day in the sun would so greatly influence a lighter mood.

Maximiliano D. 

Site/ations of Hohokam, 2021, Camelback Mountain.
Bark, dried leaves, pine needles, flowers, pointy bush branch, three different kinds of rocks
End of April beginning of Summer.

Morganne Shelley

Site/ation of Akimel Au-authm (“River People”) and Xalychidom Pipaash (“People who live toward the water”), 2021, Papago Park in the Sonoran Desert.Bowl, water, dried palm, collection of grass, wood, creosote bush, brittlebush, rocks, velvet mosquite flowers

Site/ation of Akimel Au-authm (“River People”) and Xalychidom Pipaash (“People who live toward the water”), 2021, Sonoran Desert in Phoenix, Arizona.Bowl, water, dried palm, collection of grass, wood, creosote bush, brittlebush, rocks, velvet mosquite leaves and flowers.

Douglas Baily

1. An Dusky Dancer (Damselfly)
2. Cotton wood leaf
3. Eucalyptus bark
4. The Gila river
5. Rocks Arizona willow

Jasmine R.-S.

This land was once owned by the Akimel O’otham, alsoknown as the Pima. In 1848,gold was discovered in California and many travelersused Southern Arizona as a route to theirtreasures. Many travelers came across the Akimel O’othamtribe, and the tribe gave refuge,water, and food to those damaged from battles betweenthe Apache and Yuma tribes that livedaround their land. The tribe was also taken advantageof and had their water supply, the GilaRiver, was cut off in the 1870s and 80s. The governmenttried to help by providing foods thatwere processed, but ultimately ruined the health ofthe tribe. They proved to be resourceful andstrong, and the creation of the Coolridge Dam andSan Carlos reservoir helped bring theirfarming practices back to life. The tribe has beenshown to be a peaceful and caring tribe anddeeply care about their community. Many of the AkimelO’otham ancestors that live today nowreside in the Gila River Indian Community reservation.Unfortunately, the land that I reside on that wasonce theirs now houses ugly andexpensive apartments that are littered with cigarettebutts and glass. Although the area is not aswell kept as it may have once been, I plan to cherishthis land for what it is and thank whoevermay be listening for allowing me to reside here. Myhope is to visit the community during thesummer and learn more about their history and experiencethe land that they reside on. Ifpossible, I also plan to donate or purchase from thenatives so the community can continue toflourish.

Rawan N.

I chose this provocation because I like to explore the natural features in every place I go to, as a mean of adventure. So, I took a day off, went to Papago park in Phoenix, Arizona. I found this very nice combination of natural features, rocks of all sizes, sticks, plants, flowers, and tree bark along with non-natural things like plastic band, glass, and a piece of confetti. While I was taking the picture, my 4-year-old stumbled, and a small rock jumped into the paper as if it wanted to join the picture and make a statement of “little late and maybe pushed, but I am here”! and looking at the spot that little rock chose, it seems like it wanted to be far away from its kind and maybe a little closer to the non-natural features! Or maybe be it did not jump high enough to make it to the other side of the paper. Although I tried my best to collect different elements, on my way to my car I remembered that I did not include sand and gravel in my composition. The sound of gravel made by my shoes actually reminded me of that. Then as I was walking, I saw these amazing elements combination that did not need a paper; a compositing of land (earth and plants), water, air, and a beautiful gradient cloudy/clear sky. I can say that I am now more aware of the elements of my surroundings. I never paid this much attention to
nature details. I believe that this experience motivates me to look into the bigger picture, but not to ignore the details at the same time. I can see how all these elements unites together to create what we call territory. It is where we come from, and how our interests, passion, and values are shaped by.

Cedar F.

How many hundreds of years old is Philadelphia (Lenni-Lepane land)? How many scraps of life can be sewn back together from uncovering the rubble?
I am already resting – I received surgery last week and took 2 weeks off work to heal. Acknowledging the beauty of nature in a concrete jungle feels like an oxymoron, but I shuffle my way outside to complete the task. I keep my circle small – a radius confined by the fences in my overgrown 8x8 backyard. I find a couple of rocks, and pocket them. I find an abundance of
dead vegetation. I pick a struggling flower off a stubborn vine and end its quick life quicker. A pumpkin, a surprising detection, in its prime in late November. A piece of fallen bark, moss growing over it like a hug. My reconnaissance grows morbid as I step over a mess of small bird’s feathers – from what species, I could not tell. I follow the breadcrumbs and find skeletons, of multiple animals, hiding by the stump of the maple that they cut down last year for being a “hazard when it storms”. I clean the jawbones in a bubble bath of hydrogen peroxide, and set them in the museum of my morning, with the rest of my stolen goods.
As I collect these items and squirrel them away inside my home, I realize I am practicing hereditary behaviors – I follow in the footsteps of my white ancestors who took without thinking of the consequences. This collection could be used for food, or, once decomposed, fertile soil for the life of next spring. These items tell me how a city holds many lives, and those lives hold many secrets – did a former tenant of my unit plant a pumpkin and wait for it to grow? Who – or what – chipped the bark off of the tree, if it wasn’t a collaboration between wind and time? How did the bird get its feathers plucked – was it the same perpetrator who’s amassing small bodies of rodents behind the tree stump? This provocation gave birth to more questions than answers, but I know that was the point. I come inside to my warm house and sit down, pensive. I’m unable to do community building as I’m house confined due to my surgery currently but I donated to the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania, for recompense. I also moved the dead vegetation out of my backyard, and swept the dirt from the stone ground.

Hermance L.

Fall, 2021. Site-Actions O’odham Jewed, Hohokam, and Akimel O’odham (Upper Pima). A nearby park I have wanted to visit for three months, I have never taken the time to go. During my visit, I took the time to learn about the trees around me. I did not grow up in Arizona, but I have lived here for half of my life, and I don’t think I can name a single plant other than the Saguaro Cactus. In trying to find a single name for a tree, I have found countless sources explaining how to identify trees, specific to Arizona. I have learned that most trees in the park I visited were not Native to Arizona. I didn’t just focus on trees, I focused on the biodiversity around me. I followed an ant, that led me to a feather moving in the wind, that led my eyes to fallen pollen, and so forth. I let the energies I felt flow through me, letting my curiosity wander, arriving at observations I didn’t think I would see. Yes I saw the ducks. But I also saw their ripples from their movements interacting with the other ripples from the other ducks. I saw the bugs on the surface of the water, being very careful to not break the surface. My site/action account below incorporates everything I learned from today. In summation, the land reminded me how interconnected everything is.

Timothy H.

Site-ation of a Yankton territory. The traversing of my neighborhood is a common theme in my family. We frequently walk aimlessly to take in natural life and breath freely. A life without wires, electricity, or expectation. The venture out on my ‘day-off’ was enjoyed with my boys. A 2-year-old who picks up every rock he finds, and a 4-year-old that runs through nature fantasizing about fighting off evil spirits.

Leaving the modern life behind, we took in the life lost to tar and lumber. Basking in the rays of a distant form, we felt the spirits of past lifeforms blowing on our faces. Of past beast stampeding away from a charging predator, only out to fulfill a life sustaining hunger. “This land was once completely free of housing, streets, and business” I tell the boys. The older being fascinated with a bow-and-arrow toy he once played with at a friend’s house, I demonstrated how the tool was used long before gunpowder. His imagination shifted into overdrive as he began hunting for bison in the field we explored.

As we explored, I taught the boys what we could learn from the land. How the trees have moved to be closer to the water and away from the wide-open plots of land. Of how the water that fell on our coats would soak into the ground and find friends, a lake nearby. We felt the change of season approaching and loved every minute of it.

We enjoyed the way land and water comforted us. Gave us shade from the drops falling onto us, thrill as we watched the rocks skip across the lake, and joy as we laughed and played running about.

Fallen Ash tree branch – hay bale twin – maǧá feather – bark (4yo) – pebble (2yo)

Miriam B.

O’odham Jewed, Hohokam, and Aikmel O’odham (Upper Pima) Site/ation, 2021, El Mirage, Arizona

Palo Verde Branch, Pinecone, Bottle cap, Rocks, Stick, Lemon leaves, Lego, Mexican Bird of Paradise flowers, paper, pavement

November autumn weather

As I walk around my neighborhood, I can feel the warmth of the November mid-day sun. The breeze has a coolness that signifies the coming of cooler weather. I hear the leaves rustle as the gentle breeze blows, but it is interrupted by the sound of a car driving by. I am reminded that nature is disturbed by our modern modes of convenience. This walk is allowing me to appreciate minute details that get overlooked in the daily routine like the bees humming busily as the last warm days permit. My five-year-old son, whom I’ve brought along on this walk, presents me with his own collection; a lego piece, a pinecone, and some rocks. Without knowing, he is helping by doing his own site/ation. As I approach the lemon tree on our way back home, we are greeted by a hummingbird and I take it as a sign to include some leaves from the tree. I feel that by taking a moment to acknowledge our surroundings and our place in nature it can help guide us by uncovering what truly matters to us.

Luke E.

Steve L.

**empty fuel container  >>  teucrium cossonii ‘carpet’ plant  >> solar powered porch light >> native clearie marbles: player, peewee, ittybit size class.  >>  vintage but non-functional collector sprinkler head >>  local sandstone with permanent ittybit marble storage.

Welcome to the Coastal Tamien Territory!  It is okay if you do not speak in the Tamien tongue.  The Tamien, or “Coastonian” people are fluent in both Spanish and English and they love to assist with anything.
This is what a brochure from my neighborhood might have sounded like around 1750. Walking around my suburban neighborhood, I realized that I enjoy the laid back pace of these quiet streets.  I had the opportunity to live in San Francisco for many years and the street pace there was quite different.  I could not help but compare city versus suburban life on my much needed day off. 
I did take some time before my excursion to wiki dig and discovered that I rent from the Tamien Tribe.  The tribe were originally a part of the Ramaytush Territory (Northern California) but eventually migrated south.  Their reasons for relocating were rumored to be for better accommodations. 
The Tamien suburban life seemed different from the busy north.  The Tamien Territory did not have heavy agriculture nor large structures like the Ramaytush Territory.  The burbs' life was by choice and not due to lack of skills, as proven when they helped the Spanish build the 8th California Mission.
My re-exploring felt more like exploring someplace new because I now know a bit more about the history.  The “Coastonians” were here long before the 18th century.  It is 2021. I find that even with the dramatic differences in technology and culture; we are all still people.  That constant ensures familiar non-fictional stories are timeless.   

Silvia Pillow Neretti ︎ Visual Communication & Web work + Cargo ︎