Imagining possibilities for shared place: sense of place investigations into local connections and visions for the common ground land on Tunnel Island, Kenora, Ontario
Wiens, Mya Wheeler
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The creation of working relationships between First Nations and non-First Nation peoples is the focus of the Common Land, Common Ground movement, which created partnership between the municipality of Kenora, three nearby First Nation reserves and the Grand Council of Treaty #3. This research explored, through the concept of Sense of Place (SOP), connections and visions people have regarding land gifted to this partnership on Tunnel Island (TI) in Kenora. Data were collected through interviews, modified focus groups, and participant observation. Results are organized into three themes, with ‘Connections’ revealing representations of people’s sense of place of TI, ‘Perspectives’ outlining people’s views about TI, and ‘Visions’, establishing people’s thoughts on the future of TI. Recommendations include: using SOP research to authentically engage people in place connections to allow for holistic participation and engagement and recognizing at a institutional level that increased awareness and participation will not result in homogenized agreements.