“All life is interconnected- but for many, the connection between the people and the land has weakened. If we foster the same respect and appreciation for the land that our Ancestors had, we can restore our own connection and begin to heal ourselves and our Mother Earth.”
This was the theme of Michelle Watson’s presentation at the Prince Albert Model Forest’s board of directors’ meeting on November 27th.
Her project, funded by Health Canada, began in October of 2017 shortly after a period of heavy flooding in the Mistawasis First Nation (located just North of Blaine Lake). This flooding, said Watson, was a bit of an eye-opener to the hazards of climate change for the community.
See this video that Watson has provided as summary of her project.
The project’s first phase (which has just come to a close) was focused on awareness and education, answering the questions of what exactly climate change is, how the Mistawasis Nêhiyawak is being impacted, and how they as a First Nation and as global citizens can deal with it.
Watson’s project is focused on using the traditional teachings of her community’s Elders and integrating them with the Western science that is so popular in the fight against climate change that is portrayed in the media. She has taken her Elders’ teachings of her peoples’ inherent connection to the land and used it as a springboard for the entire project: reconnecting to the land will bring healing both to the environment and to the people.
The project is currently in its second phase, which is focused on the importance of fire and water and the ability to sustain the people off of the land.