Ruminations on a “fisherman’s path”

Land as palimpsest


  • Naomi Norquay York University



This piece looks at the layered history of a “fisherman’s  [sic] path” that traverses my property in Grey County and makes its way to the Saugeen River. I am exploring the idea of land as (historical) palimpsest. My sources are: David Gibson’s surveyor field notes (1848); an archaeological report about a “point” (ancient spearhead) found along the river (1984); and my own recollections of the path and its environs. I am explore how different ‘periods’ and ‘peoples’ collide and layer and erupt as the land surrounding the “fisherman’s path” goes through natural and “man-made” changes. A temporal linearity of history gets jumbled and reassembled in interesting ways.

Author Biography

Naomi Norquay, York University

Naomi Norquay is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University. She has been researching the Old Durham Road Black pioneer settlement for the past 15 years. Using a combination of oral history, archival research and walking the land, she investigates not only the historic presence of this community but also the ways and means by which it disappeared from the local historic narrative. She currently serves as president of the Old Durham Road Pioneer Cemetery Committee and co-edits Northern Terminus, a community journal dedicated to Black history in Grey County, published through Grey Roots Museum and Archives.


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How to Cite

Norquay, N. (2022). Ruminations on a “fisherman’s path”: Land as palimpsest. UnderCurrents: Journal of Critical Environmental Studies, 21, 4–7.