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LISTEN: Pushing Past 'The White Colonial Imagination' To Enjoy Nature

Joe Klementovich
Mardi Fuller

We heard about Mardi Fuller from an Instagram post. She introduced herself as an outdoor enthusiast and shared how the “white colonial imagination has never created room for Black folk to enjoy Nature.”

Fuller wrote: "Its systems and structures have forcibly denied us access and have created conditions to impede our ability to seek it out. The narratives birthed of white environmental ideology share none of our stories of knowing earth, sky and water.”

Fuller is a volunteer leader with the Outdoor Afro chapter in Boston, and she recently completed the New Hampshire 48, climbing all 48 peaks in the state over 4,000 feet -- and she did it in winter.

In an interview with NEXT, Fuller said as a Black woman, she has a different take on the idea of “inclusion” in the outdoors. Since white people don’t own the public land, it’s not theirs to welcome other people in. Rather, people of color are the land’s co-creators and co-stewards, she said.

So Fuller encourages everyone to get outside. 

“Don’t be deterred from going out to explore and discover and figuring out what it is you like and how you like to do it,” Fuller told NEXT. “And don’t be swayed if you feel that there’s one narrative that tells you that you should participate in the outdoors in a particular way because that’s just not true.”

This interview was featured in a recent episode of NEXT from the New England News Collaborative. Listen to the entire episode here.

Morgan Springer is the host/producer for the weekly show NEXT and the New England News Collaborative, a ten-station consortium of public radio newsrooms. She joined WNPR in 2019. Before working at Connecticut Public Radio, Morgan was the news director at Interlochen Public Radio in northern Michigan, where she launched and co-hosted a weekly show Points North.

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