Told on the Land


Sketchmap: Told on the Land & Dennis G. Greene

March, 2020 - This sketchmap is based on the survivor story of Dennis George Greene. The map is composed of a series of ink sketches that were scanned using a Moleskine Journal and the Adobe Capture app and turned into vector images. The images were saved into the Adobe Creative Cloud and from there I was able to import them into Photoshop to reassemble, colorize, connect and edit into a visual story where each piece comes together to form a whole.

The driving force behind this map is the initial conversation between the interviewer & Greene wherein the interviewer states that “… our version of truth is told on the land. That’s where we find reconciliation … when we’re on the earth with our Mother” (00:38). When considering this statement, and after visiting and revisiting Greene’s own discussions around fear of the unknown, silence, and the benefits of breaking the cycle, I imagined Greene’s face imprinted upon or embedded within the ground of the earth. I saw him as one of the misdirected warriors he talked about. One that is arising from a slumber, moving towards or readying for battle, but not yet in battle. I visualized Greene’s truth as a tree growing out of the opening of his mouth; telling the story of an individual who on one side is strong and resilient yet disconnected on the other; dislodged from the self. 

An individual who was unplugged from their community and their ‘essence’ by the Residential School system at an early age. The right side of the tree is half of a feather representing the strength that resides within Greene. It encompasses Greene’s journey; his self-evolution and actualization and represents the strength revealed in the telling of his survivor story.

The left side represents Greene as a ‘seedling’ being unplugged by the hand of the priests and nuns of the Ermineskin Residential School. The broken tree retains its prongs, suggesting that a re-connection is possible.

The broken heart has multiple meanings. I felt there was a lot of sadness in this story. Greene references instances where he and the other children were deprived of love, touch (and trust in others), praise and approval from those in charge of the schools. Greene addresses the generational effects that have trickled down to children and grandchildren as a result, perpetuating pre-existing patterns of loveless, broken & chaotic relationships.

The seed attached to the mind behind the eye is a new growth that it is being cultivated by the subconscious and is developing upside down. The lines that stem from it suggest that it takes longer to break the surface as they are reaching towards (to break through) the other side of the earth. Hope exists in a small piece that has broken through the ground. This new growth must seek the sustenance of the sage bowl on the right. The smoke that comes from the sage bowl will then carry the new growth through the 3 moon phases and back into the feather (I realized afterwards that this is representative of episodes from season 3 of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina where the  Spellman family call to Hecate, invoking the power of the triple moon (maiden, mother, crone). This moon phase represents path of life cycle, as well as a cycle of the phases of Greene’s self-reflection and realization.

Finally, the tears from the broken heart send water to the bottom of the earth. The seed senses this and grows in that direction so that it can flourish. The black dots are the memory traces, the frequencies that hang in the air around us and the earth. It is unclear whether they are guides, or just various paths that lead back to the self.


Greene, Dennis George Survivor Story, Where are The Children? Retrieved from:

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Director), (2020). Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (S3, EP8)

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