Environmental Day

  1. Elder’s Panel, Moderated by Jan Kahehti:io Longboat (Elder), Inuit and Metis Elder.

    We are planning a panel with prominent Indigenous Elders to discuss the meaning of the land, and treaty rights on Indigenous Health.

  2. Indigenous Treaty Land Treaty Rights, Indigenous Peoples as Stewards of the Land, Maggie Wente and Christopher Evans, Olthuis Kleer Townshend (OKT) Law

    In this session, there would be a discussion on the history of treaty negotiations with Indigenous populations regarding land claims, the impact of the treaties, Indigenous peoples as stewards of the land. There would be a discussion about negotiations for resource extraction and the impact on the lives of Indigenous families and communities and how companies and the Government are operating in the spirit of UNDRIP.

  3. Water is Sacred Panel David Suzuki Foundation with Grassy Narrows First Nations Elder Judy Da Silva and Six Nations Elder Elva Jamieson

    Water is sacred to Indigenous people. Yet rampant resource development and inadequate funding for water-treatment plants have led to decades of water issues in Indigenous communities throughout Canada. Poisoned watersheds affect many First Nations. As of fall 2016, Canada had 156 drinking water advisories affecting 110 First Nations communities, many of which are recurring or ongoing.

    The 2016 federal budget included $1.8 billion to help resolve the crisis by 2020 in addition to funding it has already invested in First Nations water infrastructure, operations and management. In accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and the Truth and Reconciliation Report calls to action, all people in Canada are obligated to protect Indigenous people’s right to water, and, where possible, prevent third parties, such as large development companies, from contaminating waterways. Where contamination has already occurred, remediation efforts must ensue. The panel will include scientists, policy-experts and grassroots activists in the Water is Sacred Movement.

  4. Healthy Food
    1. Environmental Health affecting Food Security, Dr. Larry McDermott, ED of Plenty Canada
    2. Food Sovereignty Panel, Dr. Hannah Tait Neufeld, University of Guelph, Elisa Levi, Aboriginal Dieticians of Canada

      Throughout much of Canada, Indigenous peoples hunt and eat elk, moose, seal, caribou, geese and other wild game, as well as gather plants, such as wild berries, for sustenance. Hunting and gathering plants is more than just a recreational activity, it contributes to food security, providing healthy, nutrient-rich, low-fat food. Despite Canada’s wealth, many rural and northern communities face chronic food insecurity because staples such as milk, bread, fruits, vegetables and meat cost so much. A major review of food security among First Nations communities in Canada found one-third of people struggle to get enough nutrition to stay healthy, compared to eight per cent for the country as a whole, largely because of poverty and prohibitively high costs to buy food in northern and rural regions. That makes hunting, fishing and other subsistence food activities extremely important in rural and northern Canada.

      Household surveys confirm that foods harvested from the wild, including wild meat, remain major dietary staples for Indigenous people as well for many others in northern and rural Canada. Hunting also supports a holistic approach to the overall health and well-being of many Canadians, especially in Indigenous communities. A David Suzuki Foundation study on the importance of caribou hunting to First Nations in the boreal forest found, “harvesting as a practice is not solely a process of obtaining meat for nutrition. With each hunt a deliberate set of relationships and protocols is awakened and reinforced. These include reciprocity, social cohesion, spirituality and the passing on of knowledge to future generations.” The panel will include scientists, public health experts, and Indigenous hunters and advocates for local food security.