Dr. Frederick Brown spoke to AKCHO members at AKCHO’s February 2018 membership meeting. The author of last year’s AKCHO Award-winning book, The City Is More Than Human, Brown makes the argument that Seattle wouldn’t exist without animals.
“Materially and culturally, animals have shaped the area’s transformation,” he wrote in the introduction to his book, and at the AKCHO meeting, he detailed the many ways that animals have participated in the development of this place – as food, as labor, and as companions.
Yet he pointed out that our current tendency to neglect the historical import of animals differs significantly from the worldview of the Salish people, who were here millennia before the white settlers, and who viewed animals as powerful allies in understanding the cosmos.
Brown discussed how different animal species – cows, horses, pigs, chicken, salmon, and others – have had varying influences on the layout and development of Seattle, on the definition of different neighborhoods, and on human attitudes.
The Q&A following Brown’s presentation was one of the liveliest sessions ever -attendees had plenty of opinions and stories to share about relationships with animals and their “footprint” in different neighborhoods.
Brown is working on two more book projects at the moment. One is a project for the National Park Service that focuses on the Redwoods National and State Park Systems. The other has the working title of Sparrows and Starlings: The Avian Immigrants That Conquered a Continent.