We’re sitting with Patty Nagle, Director of Programs at the Academy, and we’re going to have a conversation about her upcoming participation in an expedition to the Arctic, retracing the journey that Ernest Thompson Seton made in 1907. (Read the full interview with Patty Nagle here.)
Patty, why are you going on this journey?
Patty Nagle: [Phone ringing.] There’s Ernest calling now. (Laughter.)
Initially when this opportunity presented itself, I thought one important thing was for a woman to go on this journey, because at least in what I’ve been reading in The Arctic Prairies, which is Seton’s account of his journey, none of what he documented includes or represents a woman’s point of view. Given where we are in human time, it’s important to have the feminine voice come forward, as well as the masculine voice. I don’t know what that looks like, but it felt important to me.
What are some of the qualities of that feminine voice or that feminine way of seeing that you feel you bring to this expedition?
Patty Nagle: I’m generalizing, but based on how Seton brings his story forward—and I know it was over 100 years ago—he was coming from a very masculine viewpoint. It was about science, what he was observing, the “resources” he was seeing. He wanted to find the musk ox. He wanted to find caribou. It was a kind of “seeking after” as an observer, a scientist.
I think I’ll be coming with more of a relational or holistic viewpoint. Not just the scientist, or not just the artist, or not just the “dot-dot-dot,” but incorporating all of those parts of myself. I’m finding myself looking at this as an opportunity to move through this journey from the point of view of how is it impacting me spiritually, how is it impacting me psychologically, how is it impacting me somatically on all these different levels, and not necessarily coming from one part of myself.
I really want to maximize this opportunity. I think it’s a gift. I don’t want to go into it thinking it’s just a canoe trip through a beautiful landscape. I think the opportunity would be lost if I went only looking from one vantage point. I think the feminine way tends to be more receptive and open versus very focused and concentrated. That’s a generalization, but my intention is to go and see it through all of myself.
To continue reading the interview with Patty Nagle, click here.