Martha Plus 100: thoughts on de-extinction

Well, September 1st was the 100th anniversary of the death of the last known Passenger Pigeon.

I was in Toronto in June, recording live poetry videos with Jorge Antonio Vallejos, aka Black Coffee Poet.

I’d learned that Mimico, a modern Toronto area placename, comes from Omiimiikaa, ‘Place of the Wild Dove’ in Ojibwemowin.

Jorge mused about the irony that one of the places named Mimico is a large prison; like so many, it contains a disproportionate population of Aboriginal inmates.

We recorded one version of my poem Place of the Wild Dove, which you can find on his Black Coffee Poet site (live link expired).

I’m working with the piece, listening in on conversations from many others about the ethics of de-extinction. Thinking about the way those pigeons died off – at a certain point, apparently, there was a captive population and people were trying to save them. The birds refused to breed. My sister opines that this is evidence of collective mind.

It’s all part of the great mystery.

all my relations


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