Attawapiskat: No more promises, no more band-aids, results are needed now

Originally posted at:

Last week, I had the honour and privilege to be the Proxy for Chief Ignace Gull of Attawapiskat First Nation at the Assembly of First Nations’ Annual General Assembly in Fredericton. On his behalf, I introduced an emergency resolution on Safe Drinking Water as a Human Right that was passed unanimously by the Chiefs in Assembly.

Almost since the time the leaders who proceeded Chief Gull signed the 1905 Treaty with Canada, Attawapiskat has lurched from crisis to crisis as a result of being under the discriminatory, and quite frankly genocidal, Indian Act which is overseen by uncaring bureaucrats in Ottawa. These crises have included ongoing unsafe water, youth suicides, drug overdoses, and overcrowded, mouldy housing.

Less than 5 years ago, a non-Indigenous third-party manager, appointed by Ottawa, was found guilty of embezzling 2 million dollars in housing funds from Attawapiskat. Today, a population of 2,000 people, most under the age of 25, continue to suffer from poverty and despair – mostly a manifestation of incompetent and dysfunctional management at the regional and national bureaucratic levels.

Every two or three years, following a protest or hunger strike, Attawapiskat makes the news and gets a few sound bites of concern from the Prime Minister that things will get better as soon as possible. But once the issue dies down, and Canadians are under the false belief that this generation of Attawapiskat children will truly enjoy their childhood, the bureaucrats in Ottawa drop the file. Because, after all, First Nation issues are viewed as faceless files, not life and death human rights issues.

Last week, I was also able to address the latest Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Seamus O’Regan, who briefly visited Attawapiskat a week ago to tell everyone that “Canada cares” and “we will do better”. I reminded Minister O’Regan that after his visit, dozens of women and children marched in Attawapiskat, with signs declaring, “Our Kids Matter, Water is Life” and, “Our People are Dying Slowly.”

You may have said that “Canada cares” but clean water is a human rights issue. Yes, Canada cares when there are water issues in Gander, Newfoundland or in Fredericton, New Brunswick. If there are municipal water issues, they are fixed without delay. If there are First Nation water issues, they linger for years, for decades. Far too many of our children and adults are living with the poor health, cancer, and scars of drinking and bathing in polluted water. 

Canada cares so much about our Peoples that you are sending extra bottled water.

Let me remind you that one of your Liberal Minister predecessors – Andy Scott – from right here in Fredericton – refused to drink the water the last time he visited a First Nation community with unsafe water. That was about 20 years ago.

Twenty years from now, we do not want to see the same problems, the same suffering by our children.

Ending boil water advisories is just one small step. You need to show that Canada cares by investing in the proper infrastructure – from clean water to healthy homes.      

No more words. No more band-aids. We need results now. This will be true reconciliation in action.

Advancing Indigenous Nationhood Includes Control of Data and Technology

Alfred Loon, Leah Ballantyne, Montreal MP Marc Miller, who is the Parliamentary Secretary for Indigenous Crown Relations, Allison Deer, and Bryan Hendry, attended the Indigenous Technology Summit last week in Montreal.

First Nations and Indigenous peoples must take control of technology and data in order to advance their Nationhood, culture, and economic independence.  This is one of the key themes of the Indigenous Technology Summit in Montreal hosted last week by the Mohwak Council of Kahnawake and Forrest Green.

Major sponsors and participants at the Summit included Indigenous Services Canada, Microsoft, Blakcberry, Mustihuhw Information Solutions, Okanagan Indian Band, Osyoos Indian Band, and the Atlantic Policy Congress. Bimaadzwin team members Allison Deer and Bryan Hendry attended along with about 70 delegates. Organizing Chairs were Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton and Murray Rowe Jr.

The goal of the summit was to gather input from First Nations and Indigenous peoples towards creating a high-tech association to promote developers, entrepreneurs and solutions.  The federal government is committed to assisting and providing IT education, job creation, capacity development, and generating own-source revenue in communities.

For example, Mustimuhw Information Solutions, owned by the Cowichan Tribes in BC, works with over 270 First Nations across the country.  Mustimuhw works with First Nation Health Centers and Child and Family Service Agencies who need to control their in information management systems. By having ownership, access, and control of personal health information, First Nations are able to provide better and safer services to their communities, children and clients.

For more information about the Summit, visit www.indigenousdata.ca For more information about the IT services available in Kahnawake, visit http://www.mohawkinternettechnologies.com/datacentre.htm
 

 

Ontario First Nation chiefs vote to assert jurisdiction over cannabis operations

Photo from The Canadian Press

by James Hopkin

Originally published on June 13 at SooToday.com

SAULT STE. MARIE – The Chiefs of Ontario have passed a resolution enabling First Nations to assert complete jurisdiction to govern all cannabis operations within their own territories.

The resolution was passed during the 45th Annual All Ontario Chiefs Conference in Sault Ste. Marie Thursday.

Thessalon First Nation Chief Edward Boulrice moved the resolution, with Garden River First Nation Chief Paul Syrette acting as the seconder.

The resolution argues that no consultation took place with the federal government prior to the legalization of cannabis this past October.

“There was little or no community consultation by the federal government and there are still no provisions in the legislation which address First Nation social and cultural needs, and rights to economic development, health and public safety,” the resolution reads.

While the resolution acknowledges that First Nations may consider following federal and provincial regulations while exploring opportunities within the cannabis industry, it also allows First Nations jurisdiction to establish their own laws and regulations.

“First Nations must have their autonomy and authority recognized as rights holders at the table as governments when asserting their interests in the cannabis sector,” the resolution states.

The resolution asserts First Nations jurisdiction over its own operations, which includes ‘regulation of the growth, processing and sale of cannabis and in all its derivatives.’

The document also urges federal and provincial governments to eliminate barriers and to ‘cease interference that would impede nation-to-nation trade and commerce.’

The Chiefs of Ontario represent 133 First Nations throughout the province.

– SooToday.com

Universal Healthcare Coverage for All means Indigenous Wellbeing must be established as a High Priority

World Health Day 2019 is observed worldwide on 7th of April. It is also a day that should remind Canadians that the health care system in Canada continues to be a racialized system that is evidenced in the poor health outcomes of First Nations as opposed to the country’s non-indigenous population.

“The health conditions generally in First Nation communities do not represent equitable health with the rest of Canadians. In fact, there has been a lack of follow-through on Reconciliation as a catalyst to health partnerships,” said Isadore Day, CEO of Bimaadzwin and former Chair of the Chiefs Committee on Health at the Assembly of First Nations.  “This lack of commitment is glaring and is proving to show through in the federal government’s poor funding of critical issues like responding to suicides in First Nations. 

“This is why we at Bimaadzwin are advocates for the World Health Organization’s efforts to raise global awareness on health equity issues such as the importance of health and wellness, and equal access to health care professionals and facilities.” 

“Canada’s 2019 Budget is not indicative of a solutions-based approach toward issues of mental health and addictions – which is unsettling, to say the least,” said Day. “The multi-generational impacts of colonialism, residential schools and a grossly underfunded indigenous healthcare system has certainly exasperated the health conditions of the Indigenous community, only leaving one obvious solution – adequate funding. This flies in the face of what World Health Day represents this year.”

Theme of World Health Day 2019

Just like 2018, the theme of World Health Day 2019 is Universal health coverage, according to the World Health Organisation. WHO sees its key aim to ensure that everyone can obtain the care they need, when they need it, right in the heart of the community. WHO chose “Universal Health Coverage” as the theme for World Health Day 2019. Steps are being taken to achieve Universal health coverage for everyone, everywhere and the slogan is “Health for All”.

Bimaadzwin and our team aim to work with First Nation communities to advance their Nationhood objectives in all sectors, including health governance and community planning. Contact us for information and how to get started on making First Nation Health Transformation a reality.

For more information you can reach Bryan Hendry at: bhendry@bimaadzwin.ca or 613-863-1764

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY #IDW2019 — #BalanceforBetter

The late Grandmother Josephine Mandamin, Water Walker and Angela Trudeau at Anishinabe Ceremonies in Serpent River First Nation, 2017.

”Anishinaabe Kwewag (Indigenous Women), and all women, have the powerful ability to carry life which is born of sacred ancestral birth waters called forth by Nokomis Giizis (Grandmother Moon) after nine months. This process has taken place since time immemorial and reflects the sacred harmony of carrying/caring for the force we call “Life”.

It is therefore a woman’s responsibility to honour and care for Nibi (Water), the source of all life, for the next seven generations.” 

Grandmother Josephine Mandamin

BIMAADZWIN, AN INDIGENOUS-LED CONSULTING NEW-CO, CELEBRATES THE DIVERSITY OF THE WOMEN WHO MAKE UP THE MAJORITY OF TEAM LEADERS IN THEIR FIRM!

International Day of Women is a wonderful moment to celebrate and acknowledge the accomplishments of women in Canada generally, and those of Indigenous women specifically. When equal attention and power are given to diverse voices in public life, professional capacities and our personal relationships, everyone benefits and society is stronger.

These are the faces of the women of BIMAADZWIN– all strong, confident and accomplished women in their own right who support their communities, their families and who choose to work in the business landscape to cultivate successful business relationship that forge stronger Indigenous communities through “Affirmative Action”– an active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups, women and to create Gender equality. 

It’s thanks to business leaders like Annette Vernschuren, a Canadian Entrepreneur, and former CEO of Home Depot Canada who demonstrated  to women around the world that they could breakthrough the glass ceiling to lead in a male dominated boardroom and to  women like Jody Wilson-Raybould,  an Indigenous leader and former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, who were able to speak their truth and strive for excellence despite naysayers.  It’s women like these who help to give voice and encouragement for women to follow in leadership roles. The diverse and knowledgeable team of Women at BIMAADZWIN are reminiscent of these strong women blazing a trail for gender equity for all peoples.

“I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about a legacy, but I have always loved teaching, watching people achieve and become happier because of it.” Annette Verschuren.

What is unique about working in this new Indigenous-Led Consulting firm is that more than 60% of the team are women and the work is performed virtually– allowing the team to have more work life balance. These women come from a wide range of professions including Law, Environmental Studies, International Development and Business Administration and have earned a masters in their respective fields of study. They come from different ethnic backgrounds and work collaboratively to support the growth and prosperity of Indigenous communities across Canada.

BIMAADZWIN , is a young company that is growing daily. It encourages and supports the empowerment of women— professionals wanting to make a difference in their communities and in society. This is done through transformational leadership that creates an interconnected and integrated team environment—the bonus is that this cutting-edge company offers a shared virtual work space that encourages Indigenous development and innovation. This of course wouldn’t be possible without the Core Values shared at BIMAADZWIN, they are; Highest Order of Inherent Right, Cultural Reciprocity, Environmental Consciousness, Shared Mentorship, Family, Professional Agility/Innovativeness and Accountability and Transparency – that has created an environment of work-life balance for all team members.

Today we celebrate diversity, gender equality and salute all Women for the hard work and tenacity to move the goal post even further– a collective and individual responsibility of every person in this country is to celebrate women in their accomplishments and also to support women in the continued efforts towards equality.

For more information about BIMAADZWIN, our services and associates, please contact, Isadore Day, CEO and President by email at Iday@bimaadzwin.ca or by mail at P.O. Box 192 – 511 Highway 17E Serpent River First Nation Cutler, ON POP 1 B0

Messages from the women of BIMAADZWIN

Charu Murti, Organization Development Coordinator

I am where I am today because of being a woman.

From the experience of giving life. To the many layers of relational accountability.

From being a mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend. To the studying, working and volunteering for decades.

Heart and mind were ready ten years ago to learn and work on what needs to be done as a newcomer on this land.

Heart and mind were ready to see how we needed to protect the children of this land.

Here’s celebrating today the center of the circle of life – the Indigenous woman.

May we learn from her on how to protect and uphold all that is sacred. Whether it is land or water. Whether it is human or non-human living beings.

May we protect and uphold the Indigenous woman, today and always!

Sarah Yankoo, Director of Planning and Technical Sevices

“When we begin to understand the colonial legacy and its collateral damage to the minds and bodies of Indigenous women, we can begin to forgive, accept, and heal ourselves from the countless hurtful, damaging ways in which this trauma manifests itself. When we embrace our long-standing inner memory of the richness of our teachings, in those moments we reclaim and honor our ancestors’ truth, courage, and resilience.” – Nahanni Fontaine (Anishinaabe), in #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women by Lisa Charleyboy

I was raised in the wake of my mother’s reconnection to the Algonquin Nation. Separated from her family in the 60s Scoop, my mother met her three sisters, her Aunties, her community and her culture as I grew alongside her. As the Truth portion of Reconciliation manifests, many are learning about the traumatic histories we have endured for the first time. So much of this illumination will be led and supported by Indigenous women, two-spirit and non-binary people.

While this day celebrates and recognizes women, as a two-spirit woman, I feel it is dually important to recognize two-spirit and non-binary identities:

“I am a Two Spirit, the third strand in a thick braid, and my identity is weaved in between the male and the female, the community and academia, the traditional and the modern, the spirit and the flesh. Being Queer and Indigenous we stand at the crossroads of culture and the intersection of identity” – Damien Paul Montano, Kimiwan Zine: sikwan 2014

As a spirit woven between many dualities, I honor the balance and vision of all the feminine energies I have had the privilege of encountering in this life.

Nikki Bakes, Director of Operations

I often admire the trail blazed by talented and dedicated Indigenous women in this country. Examples of Indigenous women excelling in their occupations and communities abound, regardless of whether they are poets, lawyers, artists, doctors, teachers, or politicians.  One example of an accomplished Indigenous woman who has strengthened Canadian society by using her voice is Dr. Cindy Blackstock. Dr. Blackstock is a professor of Social Work at McGill University, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society (FNCFCS), and a member of Gitxsan First Nation. 

Dr. Blackstock is a prominent advocate for Indigenous children. She has worked for more than 30 years aiming for First Nations children and families to be treated equal to other Canadian kids and moms. Dr. Blackstock has laboured to have the government implement Jordan’s Principle, a child-first health-care funding process and to ensure First Nations children on-reserve receive equal treatment and funding as those off-reserve. “I am always just stunned that I have to be an activist to get equity for little kids,” she said. 

For me, Dr. Cindy Blackstock is an inspiration and an example of what International Women’s Day celebrates. She is one of many determined Indigenous women leaders whose tireless work ethic, steadfast integrity, and courageous conviction in speaking truth to power is an example to others for how to live by one’s values in pursuit of justice and equality.

We each have an opportunity to make Canada a better place for all women and girls by implementing Jordan’s Principle and ensuring funding in health care and child welfare is equitable for Indigenous kids. When Indigenous women and children are treated equally, Canadian society is stronger.

Allison Deer, Senior Projects Advisor

Today we celebrate the International Day of Women #IDW, which has me reflecting on what’s changed from the days of suffragette in Canada (1917) and the feminist movement (1960’s) and, more specifically, the impact on the corporate world.  While the feminist movement inched women along the road to equality, greater representation, and better pay equity, women in subsequent years continued to strive for parity with their male counterparts; hence the pursuit of gender equality is still alive and well, but I think we are getting better at this determination which is evident on today’s—day of celebration!  

Women today have successful role models,  are better educated, and have access to wealth and better health care.  All of which contribute to the ever-growing number of women, whose faces, stories, and experiences now share the spot light in Forbes, the Economist, Time Magazine and other renowned business periodicals.  

There is hope for future generations of female leaders.  With more female role models, greater access to education and a particular style of female leadership, being more transformational in nature, perhaps the time is ripe for women to lead nations and the business world, especially, during these challenging times. There is no doubt that role-models and mentorship greatly influence and encourage more women to advance and take their rightful place in the corporate world.  Still, corporations require a blend of both female and male leaders and more importantly, a blend of leadership styles that can greater contribute to gender parity.   We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.   Let’s continue to strive for better equality and continue this narrative. #BalanceforBetter

At BIMAADZWIN, the team is surrounded by talented, confident and professionals of women who lead by example, this is not surprising since its CEO and founder, encourages balanced leadership, team interdependence and interconnectivity, devolving future goals, and embraces innovation to attain our organizational goals;  #balanceforbetter is the goal. We are moving in the right direction!

Angela Trudeau, Cultural Coordinator and Administrative Suport

Recognition and empowerment of women today makes stronger families, communities and nations. International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women globally, while also raising awareness for the continued need of collective action for a gender balanced world. Although, inequity of women continues to be a global issue, more and more women and girls are rising to prominence, taking their place on the world stage of influence.  

At Bimaadzwin, the diverse influence of its women is revered and vital. It embraces an Indigenous value of balance. Inclusiveness, gender balance and shared leadership are values at the foundation of Bimaadzwin’s success. I unequivocally believe, if the world would embrace women equally, the world would be in a much better place than it is today. It’s all about creating a better world for our girls so that they don’t struggle with inequity issues the way our grandmothers, mothers and we have. And when they are women, it is my dream the equality gap will have been closed for them to thrive as world leaders.

Photos of the women of BIMAADZWIN

IWD2019 Reading List

Stolen Sisters: The story of two missing girls, their families and how Canada has failed Indigenous women
The Right To Be Cold: One Woman's Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet
Birdie
A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder
Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City
Strong Women Stories: Native Vision and Community Survival
Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature
Nationhood Interrupted: Revitalizing nêhiyaw Legal Systems
Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Issues in Canada
Every Day Is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women
Mean Spirit
Split Tooth
Half-Breed
April Raintree
I Am Woman: A Native Perspective on Sociology and Feminism
Secret Path
#Indianlovepoems
Beyond Blood: Rethinking Indigenous Identity
The Break
A Recognition Of Being: Reconstructing Native Womanhood


Bimaadzwin's favorite books »

Do Not Lose Sight of Health Services for our Most Vulnerable

OTTAWA – POLITICS – This past Tuesday, the provincial government announced that it will create a “super” agency called Ontario Health that will eventually dissolve the 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LIHNs), and six other agencies which include Cancer Care Ontario and eHealth Ontario. The North West LIHN covers half of the province’s land mass and serves a mostly First Nation population.

Originally posted in the NetNewsLedger. Read More

WIISAG Announces Safe, Effective, and Affordable Cannabis Health Program for First Nation and Inuit Patients

 

(November 26, 2018, Toronto, ON) Wiisag Corporation, a First Nation cannabis company headquartered at Neyaashiinigmiing, ON, is pleased to announce that it will offer personal health services designed and delivered by Indigenous Nurses. These services are for those First Nation and Inuit patients who either have an existing authorization to use medicinal cannabis or want to determine if cannabis is potentially beneficial to their personal health.

“We are welcoming patients into the Wiisag family. We strongly believe that it is necessary for health professionals to not just authorize access to cannabis but, to guide patients throughout their journey until we all know more about the impacts of cannabis,” said Juanita Rickard, Registered Nurse and Director of Wiisag’s Health Services Bureau. “Cannabis products are very complicated and impact every person differently, depending on a whole range of factors, such as pre-existing medicines and current health. Our Health Services team is made up of Indigenous Nurses who will monitor each patient’s personal health journey with cannabis, and study how cannabis is impacting their health and well-being and recommend appropriate adjustments in products.”

Wiisag is in discussions with the Federal government and Licensed Producers to make the cannabis products our Wiisag Nurses deem appropriate for our patients affordable. Wiisag has recommended that the Government pay for cannabis only for patients who also fully participate in the Health Services Program until more analysis is available concerning the benefits of cannabis as part of a holistic health program.

“Wiisag is committed to improving the health of our First Nation/Inuit brothers and sisters across the country.  Wiisag’s vision of health excellence is evidenced in our investment in carefully selected health service professionals and in our partnerships with academic institutions and industry players,” said Isadore Day, Government and Community Relations. “Sadly, we know that First Nations and Inuit people in Canada are on average in poorer health and have shorter life expectancies than other Canadians.  We also know that First Nations and Inuit people in Canada suffer disproportionately from such disorders as chronic pain, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, sleep disorders, nausea and opioid addiction to name a few. The proper use of cannabis, supervised by indigenous nurses may be a real improvement for our people’s health

Wiisag has supply and cooperation agreements with select Licensed Producers. Wiisag health services professionals have identified select cannabis products from these LPs that they believe will potentially be beneficial to Wiisag patients. These LPs have sublicense Wiisag’s brand and will supply Wiisag’s authorized patients.

“We want to provide comfort and certainty to our patients first and then the system. Our nurses are working with a select few Licensed Producers to choose appropriate strains and thc/cbd combinations which will be offered as Wiisag brand cannabis products. We are well on the road to safe and effective use of cannabis with our nurse’s program and now we are focused on ensuring that cannabis products are affordable for our First Nations and Inuk patients. We are working on a number of strategies to achieve this critical objective,” said Jake Linklater, Founder and Executive Chairman.

Wiisag is a First Nations integrated cannabis business active in all elements of the cannabis business; Cultivation (indoor and outdoor), product development, processing and packaging. In addition to these activities Wiisag is investing in a unique Cannabis Health Services program based on consultations with First Nations leaders and communities. Wiisag intends to compete globally as the authentic First Nation cannabis company and invites all First Nations leaders to reach out for further information.

To further advance this endeavour, Joel Strickland, Founder and Chief Executive Officer said, “We intend to create a competitive, authentic, indigenous global brand to compete in the cannabis industry by making it attractive for First Nations communities and indigenous entrepreneurs to join Wiisag’s national network. We have listened carefully to Chiefs, Councilors, Elders, leaders and communities’ concerns about (and hopes for) cannabis. We then went to the indigenous health care community to understand how they could be effective in terms of facilitating a safe, and effective experience with cannabis for suitable patients.”

Interested patients, whether you already have an existing authorization to use medicinal cannabis or not are invited to pre-register with Wiisag at info@wiisag.ca as the program will go live on February 14, 2019.

For more information, including a backgrounder, contact:

Bryan Hendry, Director of Marketing and Communications, bhendry@wiisag.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Mother the Earth is in Peril: Leadership is Required Now From All Government Levels including First Nations

Our Mother the Earth is in Peril: Leadership is Required Now From All Government  Levels including First Nations

By Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini

October 12, 2018

That purple haze that you see in the air is not from next week’s long-anticipated legalization of cannabis. Don’t let the “where, when and how” Canadians can get legally high be a smokescreen for the two very real issues of the week that have so far dazed and confused any real response by our leaders on how we are going to save our planet.

First off, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released this past week a real wake-up call of a report which warns we have at best just 12 years to get our global act together in order to minimize the increase in world temperatures. A two-degree rise in temperature will be catastrophic for everyone and all living beings in the world – from droughts and forest fires to rising oceans that will flood major cities.

Carbon pollution needs to be cut by at least 45 per cent by 2030 – and that’s only 12 years away. Prime Minister Trudeau and Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna have been tweeting this week on how Canada will live up to its obligations to the 2016 Paris Climate Change Accord. Environmentalists have been retweeting, “hey, didn’t you guys just buy a pipeline?” One barrel of crude oil produces 317 kilograms of carbon dioxide. Maybe “the world needs more Canada” but the world does not need more Canadian produced carbon pollution. We need to de-carbonize the atmosphere – not add more certainty to humanity’s demise!

Also, on Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the federal government does not have a duty to consult First Nations when it introduces legislation that may affect constitutionally protected Indigenous and Treaty Rights. As the former co-chair of the AFN Chiefs Committee on Climate and the Environment, this is why I resigned from the last two years regulatory review as the AFN’s lead.

At the time, we were supposed to be “co-drafting” legislation with the federal government. Then we were told that due to Cabinet secrecy, we would not be able to see the final version of legislation before it was introduced. This is not consistent to a Nation-to-Nation relationship – and one of the reasons why the recognition of rights Framework is being fiercely repelled by the majority of Indigenous Peoples and First Nation communities across the country.

How do any First Nation leaders within Crown government paid organizations respond without threat of funding cuts? What is the key message we need to hear from these organizations?
Climate change literally is a burning global issue. It requires a real collaborative effort between all levels of government, western scientists, our traditional knowledge keepers, and all our citizens to see the real change required to save this planet.

Indigenous communities are at the frontlines and feel the greatest impacts of climate change. Weather conditions prompted our First Nation leaders to raise concerns this past winter about the impact to winter roads and access. These roads are the life lines for food, fuel, and other necessities in dozens of northern communities.

Since time immemorial, Indigenous peoples have been the stewards of the lands. Despite the many attempts to colonize our ancestors, we are still here and every day we continue to practice this stewardship. It’s time for real work on the Nation to Nation relationship.

Our leaders need to pull their heads out of the sand right now. Now, more than ever, Canada needs First Nations at the table. The world needs Indigenous peoples at the table. For the sake of our children, we must stop polluting the air we breathe, and the water we drink. We must end the insane proportions of fossil fuel extensions into the global economic framework and de-entrench toward a reliance on clean, renewables and technologies that reverse carbonizing the earth’s atmosphere – for that we need real courage and real leaders.

Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini, is the founder and CEO of Bimaadzwin.