Every day is Earth Day when you are Anishinaabe!

Years of rapid environmental decline. Living under the pandemic. These issues have done well demonstrating that we are currently experiencing existential environmental threats – the kind of which we have not witnessed before.

Much of Humanity – certainly Western society – is justifiably consumed by “eco-anxiety” according to many in the therapeutic professions.

Suiting then that those who are worried that the world is ending forget that Indigenous peoples throughout Turtle Island and indeed the rest of the planet have endured and resisted world-ending at the hands of colonizers, and neoliberal capitalism. The very same ideologies and systems that have contributed more to environmental decay and degradation than perhaps any group on Aki.

The government of FNT2T continues to grow and evolve. Our Aki Guardians Program seeks to build the required capacity to engage colonials – and bring the management philosophies that have allowed us to exist on Turtle Island since time immemorial and in harmony with our precious mother. Perhaps the time has arrived when our knowledge will be valued. It is regrettable that Environmental decay has been largely ignored to this point and viewed as an acceptable cost towards “progress”.

Aki Guardians aside an additional goal is to create is for us to “return to the land” as our Knowledge Keepers have reminded us, especially for our Anishinaabe youth. Anishinaabe Bimaadiziiwin will include ceremonies, feasts, visits from knowledge keepers and a chance to connect and experience Aki’s life force firsthand.

• Anishinaabek are the original caretakers of Aki.
• Despite making up less than 5% of the population, we are the most affected by environmental racism, climate emergencies and injustices.
• Indigenous people protect more than 80% of the planet’s biodiversity.
• Activities on the land by Settler governments should be done with consultation of the Anishinaabe, who have always nurtured and honoured relationships to land.

Our people have known these things for centuries. Western science is only now catching up to Indigenous knowledge. The western world refuses to accept the words of their scientists and still advance political agendas to the detriment of Aki

It’s time to reverse the paternal relationship between western ideologies and the Anishinaabek. The major difference is that while the western world has treated us as wayward children in need of subjugation and suppression, we have survived those tactics just as our Mother has and it isn’t too late to act in the interest of Gi-da-kii-naan.

Earth Day is a reminder to most of the world to be mindful of the impact we have had and continue to have on our mother, but it should also be a time to reflect on our actions and to try and make a difference. If we don’t act, we can’t say “didn’t know or nobody told us.”

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