Not only are Indigenous peoples stewards of the land, they are also protectors of the water. The water is considered the lifeblood of Mother Earth and is, therefore, not only a concern for Indigenous peoples but all peoples. Without clean water, there would be no life. All human beings need to consider what their role is in protecting all bodies of water.
The Council of Canadians – Sudbury Chapter is one organization that supports the Atikameksheng First Nation in its struggle to protect its waterways. Arsenic from the abandoned Long Lake Gold Mine has been leaching into the lake waters. Elevated levels of arsenic found in the southwest corner of Long Lake near the abandoned mines creates health and environmental hazards affecting recreation, drinking water, and fishing activities, as well as threatening the wildlife grazing throughout the surrounding areas. This is one example of the impact that mining companies have on the environment.
Organizations such as the Council of Canadians serve as allies in the fight to bring attention to the environmental hazards created by mining companies and supported by the existing government legislations.
Why do you suppose that the Council of Canadians has chosen to support Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation?
Expanding Your Knowledge
The following link provides more information about the Council of Canadians – Sudbury Chapter:
Sudbury chapter in solidarity with the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation
Naomi Klein – This Changes Everything | Bioneers
In the following video, Naomi Klein, an award-winning Canadian journalist, international activist and best-selling author, discusses the issue of climate change as a wake up call to challenge dominant economic policies of deregulated capitalism and endless resource extraction. Capitalists are not taking the issue of climate change seriously. Additionally, governments are placing climate commitments lower on the policy agenda to the point where environmental concerns are practically irrelevant. Large-scale climate change is a result of human activities and, if left unchecked, will alter the future world in which humans will have to live.
According to Klein, it is always easier to deny reality than to allow our worldview to be shattered. For example, Klein describes the relationship between people and the earth as one where people are the parents and the earth is the child. She notes that in an Indigenous worldview, people have a different relationship to the earth and refer to the earth as ‘mother.’ In this Indigenous worldview of the earth as mother, the mother provides for the people – water, air, food, etc. Additionally, she points to the efforts of Indigenous people in taking care of the earth. The Idle No More movement was one way in which Indigenous people worked to block planet destruction. The issues that Indigenous people are protesting about are not only issues affecting Indigenous people; they are issues that affect all human beings. These local fights by Indigenous peoples are morphing into guiding principles in the fight for equality and social justice, and for real solutions to our failing systems.
Questions to think about as you watch this video:
-Describe how an Indigenous worldview is impacting capitalism and resource extraction.
-How does this contribute to the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people?