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Indigenous Sovereignty is Climate Action

Marked on my calendar for this afternoon was to watch and listen to a broadcast called Indigenous Sovereignty is Climate Action. It is a call to action by a well known and very active group here in Canada and across North America, Idle No More.

Here is the online description of this group: “A grassroots movement for indigenous sovereignty, indigenous rights and respect for the treaties. Goals include stopping environmental degradation and economic and social inequality. Idle No More is an ongoing protest movement, founded in December 2012 by four women: three First Nations women and one non-Native ally”.

This was the opening message that had caught my eye: “As millions of young people around the world are taking to the streets in massive climate strikes, we too must raise our voices as Indigenous protectors of land, water, and sky.  Native Peoples face some of the worst impacts of this Climate Crisis but we also hold the knowledge and the power to restore the balance - to protect and heal our Earth.  

Join us on November 10th for a powerful webinar hosted by Indigenous Youth Casey Desjarlais and Dakota Bear with guest speakers Vanessa Gray, Michelle Brass, and Melissa Mollen Dupuis.

The webinar was led by Indigenous Youth, Casey who opened with an invitation to share voices and work together. Dakota spoke of unceded territory here across Canada, and that land in the original agreements made were for the land to be shared, never ceded. We heard of an auntie who lived in the woods to hold back the loggers who wanted to take all of the wood. Casey and Dakota brought into the webinar the speakers listed in their announcement, three Indigenous women leaders. From the first hello to the very end a beautiful message was sent out to all tuning in, which felt like a loving arm pulling me in to listen to the plan, to understand what the leadership of Indigenous Peoples here in Canada is offering us all to save this Earth and to live lovingly with each other. It was also a notice of action together on November 29, 2019 A #ClimateRoundDance has been called.

The video can be seen still on the Idle No More site:

The reason I am sending this link instead of describing what I heard and what I experienced by hearing it, is because I hope that every one of you will be able to listen and feel it in your own hearts - what I felt in mine. These five speakers sent out an organized, detailed plan of action for the Earth and all of its people with such wisdom, such inspiration, such an offering of love and understanding that there was nothing that could have taken me away from listening and imagining how I can take part in a deeper and more effective way.

Just listening was an experience I will never forget. The message coming across barriers of language and tradition, of how while one culture talks about ownership and parcels of land bought, Indigenous People are thinking of relatives and ancestors. How there is no recognition of Indigenous wisdom in taking care of the land, with sovereignty of land for traditional, sustainable food sources not as a quest for power, money, jobs. They called for an understanding of Indigenous Cultures by non-Indigenous people. They called for a recognition that Indigenous People with traditional understanding of the land, need to be at the forefront of this movement to save this Earth and the people on it. To treat the land as it needs to be treated, and to visit that land, use it in the way it is meant to be used. To imagine this land sustaining the children and grandchildren. That we live our lives for the children and grandchildren, whether our own or not. That there needs to be a recognition of Indigenous ways of thinking, that this is bigger than science, that just as we were looked after by our parents, we live to look after the young ones and that we live to take care of this Earth.

We heard of an auntie who lived in the woods to hold back the loggers who wanted to take all of the wood. There were messages about the importance of taking care of the land for growing sustainable food, how buffalo were wiped out by colonizers who knew that these animals were the main source of food in one part of this country, how boreal forests have been destroyed, how this land needs to be taken care of so that people can live, that when ancestral diets are possible again, Indigenous People will be well emotionally, physically, spiritually. And how the truth of the history of Canada must be told and understood, that there was a Government led attempt to destroy the food sources, and a many faceted attempt to destroy the Indigenous People. 

Each leader spoke with messages of love, that we take care of our selves and others, that we make sure to protect ourselves physically and mentally, that we develop our own plan, that we work together, that we be kind to each other, that we listen to each other, that we take the time to rest and stay healthy, to be able to pass the baton to each other, to do this together.

They spoke about us all being connected to this land and to each other.

They called for us all to take part. It was the deep wisdom in these messages that held me. It was also the generosity and love. I am full of joy and relief that we have such leaders and that it is possible to listen to them here.

There will be another online call for organizers, for anyone wanting to take part, on November 12 at 6pm PST, 9pm EST.

I urge all of us to pay attention to what is being planned for November 29, 2019. We are all being asked to take part. This will be big. Here in Canada plans are already being made. This action will be happening soon. 

These leaders live right across Canada. These are leaders I hope to meet over the next year. I want Indigenous women leaders here to know all of you. I hope that in the next few years their voices and their leadership will increasingly be here with us all.





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