DAM BEaVERLY HILLS!
“And who is the first back after a fire to start the regeneration? Amiwag.
Amik is a world builder.
Amik is the one who brings the water.
Amik is the one who brings forth more life.
Amik is the one that works continually with water and land and animal and plant
nations and consent and diplomacy to create worlds, to create shared worlds”
- Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, A Short History of the Blockade: Giant
Beavers, Diplomacy and Regeneration in Nishnaabewin (2021)
‘Beverly’ means ‘beaver clearing’.
Amik means beaver
Once upon a time, in every valley and on every stream, there was beaver dam after
beaver dam. The valleys were green. Streams serpentined slowly sheltering baby fish,
frogs, birds, insects, and muskrats. The streams created grassland for deer and buffalo as
well as a place for coyotes and wolves to hunt.
But some people needed their furs and perfumes.
California now has the heaviest hydraulic infrastructure in the world to accommodate
living in water-depleted areas, desert agriculture, industry, and sanitary systems. It also
has some of the worst wildfires. We happen to have an extraordinary ally, the beaver,
who by blockading the water, slows down its flow and holds it on the land for much
longer. There might be a lesson to learn.
In exchange for a commitment to work with the beaver teachings, beaver chews are
offered during live events. This promise of commitment is sealed by tying ribbons on the
wooden logs of the beaver den. Please keep the chew as a reminder of your engagement
or bury it to feed and inoculate the earth.
— Suzanne Husky
For the 2022 R.U.in.ART Commission, San Francisco-based artist Suzanne Husky presents Dam Beaverly Hills!, a participatory installation centering on themes of ecology and the environmental crisis in California. Noting that the place name ‘Beverly’ itself means ‘beaver clearing’, Husky’s installation spotlights the integral role of the North American beaver in amplifying California’s ecosystems. The artist will activate the installation with live events through the exploring of the beaver’s history in North America.
Photography Da Ping Lou
The best part of this exhibition was looking for beaver chews on Northern California and Oregon. The Sacramento Wildlife refuge, that removes beavers in order to control waters, gave me a few.
These images are of beaver pathways, trees pollarted by the beaver people, bird people, bald eagle.
This exhibition allowed to give funds to Worth a Dam (Martinez ) and the Water institute (Occidental, and the Bring back the beaver campaign)