the strait is not straight

In a paper he delivered at the AMBS Rooted & Grounded Conference last month, the Ecumenical Theological Seminary professor Jim Perkinson reflected on the deep meaning found in the renaming of his beloved Detroit River Watershed in 1701:

“Wawiatonong” the Ojibwa say, the place “where the river goes around,” a name conveying at once respect and locale and abundance. I, however, write from a Detroit become the epitome of thirst and lack. Three centuries ago, the Jesuits came around the bend and re-named the Ojibwa curve a “strait,” “de-troit,” the link between Lakes Erie and Huron, shifting its orientation toward the priority of trade and commodities, a mere conduit in the circuits of global capital, and now the country’s most heavily trafficked “commercial” border.

Continue reading