I spent two summers working as a guide, selling Yukon’s “northern wilderness”. It was exciting work, but beneath the thrill lingered a question: what myths drew my clients there, and what kinds of relationships between them and the land do those myths foster? I examine these questions by weaving together reporting about the canoe tripping industry on the Nahanni River (N.W.T.) with my experiences guiding. Drawing on postcolonial analyses of wilderness, the North, and canoeing in Canada, I consider how these cultural narratives are used create the Nahanni as a valuable tourist destination and their role in shaping my own relationship with northern Canada.


This project is divided into two segments:

-A personal reported feature essay weaving together reporting and my experiences guiding.

-A review of the literature about settler-colonialism to consider how scholars have analyzed wilderness, exposing it as a cultural narrative that is essential to sustaining Canada and the United States as imagined communities and is entwined with Canadian cultural narratives around canoes and the North, particularly in terms of recreational outdoor tourism.



If you would like to read the entire project, please get in touch and I will give you the password. I can be reached at:




Copyright (2019) to all content herein, including but not limited to words, ideas, and analyses, is held by Marc Fawcett-Atkinson. Please do not share with a commercial entity for publication, including but not limited to a news organization or documentary production company, without obtaining authorization from the owner, giving proper credit, and ensuring the owner receives industry-appropriate payment from said organization.

Use for academic and in private, non-commercial contexts is permitted when properly cited and/or credited.