Good Land: Artist Indigenizes Southern Ontario

“Good Land” by Christi Belcourt


Goodland“GOOD LAND” by Christi Belcourt. Acrylic on Canvas, 30″ x 40″

“Good Land” shows two depictions of one map. On one side, it contains some original place names, and markings that show an Indigenous world view of land. So for example it may be marked with “fasting site” or “place of the little people” – on the other, the words have been taken from existing historical maps which have words such as “good land” “rough land unfit for civilization” “this is now called the County of Simcoe” and “Part of Canada”. Its been said that more Indigenous territory has been stolen with mapping than by guns (Bernard Nietschmann). “Good land” was an actual map made along the North Shore of Lake Huron in 1856 by Albert Salter, who started to mark out the resources in the territory. A map that affects us today.

Christi Belcourt is a Metis visual artist with a deep respect for the traditions and knowledge of her people. The majority of her work explores and celebrates the beauty of the natural world.

See more of Christi’s work at


One comment

  1. If Niigani-gichigami (Leading Sea): is what ended up with the name “Lake Ontario” (or Gichi-zaaga’igan (Big Lake,) renaming the great lake one of those would alleviate ambiguity with reference to the province of the same name… but if the province is split into multiple provinces, I can only hope that they wont be given confusing, unoriginal and just downright st*pid names which include the name “Ontario” plus a direction in the English language (maybe even in addition to one simply called “Ontario” as happened when the impulsively named “West Virginia” split from the older state of Virginia. I only hope that the less than ideal colonial names for states and provinces (North and South Carolina, The Northwest Territories, West Virginia, New this, New That, Indiana, Ohio (River,) (Lake) Michigan, Georgia, Maryland, (Alta as opposed to Baja) California, Colorado (River,) (Ar)Kansas, British Columbia, Alberta,… And the states/territories of Australia are even worse!

    What did indigenous peoples call the *lands* shown above?


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