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CARLETON UNIVERSITY / OTHER / INDG 2015 / What is the common problem of Indigenous communities?

What is the common problem of Indigenous communities?

What is the common problem of Indigenous communities?


School: Carleton University
Department: OTHER
Course: Indigenous Ecological Ways of Knowing
Professor: Karen lawford
Term: Fall 2017
Cost: 50
Description: WATER - Women have a great connection to water - Water Carriers - Indigenous communities - MEMORY - PREGNANCY & BIRTH - Health and the environment - WAI = WATER - ‘WAHKOTOWIN’- rainbow spiral- Cree world view LAND - What is land? - EUROPEAN ARRIVAL - PIONEERS - RELATIONAL ONTOLOGY - AUSTRALIA - CANADA DAY CELEBRATION - Trudeau address to the UN - ETHNOLOGY TREES - Trees are t
Uploaded: 10/14/2017
8 Pages 5 Views 6 Unlocks

INDG 2015 Paola Ayala Perez

What is the common problem of Indigenous communities?

Indigenous Ecological Ways of Knowing 




Essential, ubiquitous (found everywhere), blood of the earth, properties are anomalous and  unusual

- Women have a great connection to water

o Brings life

▪ Seen as similar to the water in our womb

o VALUED in indigenous society

- Water Carriers

o Usually women who carry water from one source to another

▪ Demonstrating a woman’s role

o Accompanied by a man holding a staff

o Symbol/ceremony to honour water

▪ Raise awareness of scarcity of clean drinking water & water  


- Indigenous communities

o Struggle with having access to clean water

o Water must be shipped in large jugs

o Do no have access to fresh water from the land

▪ Does not exist, it is all polluted lakes

What is mitochondria?


o Water is sentient and can carry water

▪ Eg. if a flower is dropped into water, the before and after pictures will be  different.

• Even when the flower is removed, the water will be able to carry  

the memory (aka imprint) on the water

o Connects to the water cycle

▪ Come back and re-fills all our water supply

o Is water the data memory that carries info around the world?

▪ When water is changed/processed, does the ‘water memory’ change? • Will this affect the way it is carried?


o Water is seen as the same as the water in the womb

o Women are water carriers

▪ So they also carry life in birth and as representations

INDG 2015 Paola Ayala Perez

o Women are protectors of water as well as of children We also discuss several other topics like chm umd

▪ Water is life and needs protections

o The concept of MOTHER EARTH!

Who is the author of jay treaty?

▪ We are born from the land

• the idea of us being born initially form the stars… star dust!

• We are just star dust!


▪ DNA only form the mother- maternal line

• Traces back to the eve (original)

▪ Purpose: to convert resources into energy

• Add to symbolism that mothers give life!

▪ Only through artificial means can an egg allow the full paternal DNA to  enter and stay in the egg

▪ Indigenous women go to cities to give birth rather than stay in their  


▪ Umbilical cord ceremony

• Boys: put in a leather pouch with a bow and arrow or fishing rod

o Would have the significance where the boy would provide  

food this his family

• Girls: wrap the cod with needles, threat cloth, leather and tying  

the bundle to a tree, stump or being buried

o Would have the significance that the daughter would be  

able to care for her family

▪ Placenta ceremony

• Usually the father takes the placenta and buries it with tobacco  

and gives thanks for the life they have gotten.

o They are giving it back to the earth & the baby is now  

connected to the earth as well

o Allows the children to be grounded to that place

• However, some hospitals do not allow the mother to get their  

placenta back  If you want to learn more check out prashanth rao usf

o May have to mailed and then given back without blood....  


- Health and the environment

o Medicine comes form nature

o Environment is our bodies  

o The environment is everything!

o Natural Watersheds

▪ Reductive, compartmentalized, competitive (nestle…)

o Water is meant to be healing and support life. If this can’t happen, something is  terribly, terribly wrong

INDG 2015 Paola Ayala Perez

o The gov’t has been known to purposely flood areas to save other (sacrifice the  little for the many)

o River Piracy (when rivers steal another river’s water… icebergs in Alaska) o Indigenous people try to maintain their connection to the land and the water to  keep a balance for the future


o Use of word shows how water is central/crucial to their culture

o Shows that water is the cornerstone of human relationships, agriculture, political social, spiritual world,  

o In the past, land was sold and taken away but water (wai) remained a shared  resource under Hawai’I law Don't forget about the age old question of 35797 feet to km
If you want to learn more check out fauccj

o Now water was controlled on each of the main 4 islands by the sugar  capitalists/productive land- not to be equally distributed amongst agriculturalists  anymore!

o Water has been transformed from a spiritual need to a resources to be used.  

- ‘WAHKOTOWIN’- rainbow spiral- Cree world view

o Relationship between everyone and everything

▪ guidelines to help understand what is your place in each relationship

o When something is taken from the earth, we must give something back o Each rung in the spiral represents a diff level of life, society, etc… represents  interconnectedness

o Water is a part of them

▪ Brings life to their table

▪ Treat it with respect

o Water is medicine

o Water is the blood of the earth


Mystical, non-hierarchical (hierarchy is capitalism western…individualistic, indigenous is  community based), relational, spiritual, interconnected, stewardship (being a caretaker over the  land), contextual, naturalized systems of knowledge (mothers carry the information-they are  carriers of life), expansive & expanding, power in ritual, responsibility, reflective, tomorrow If you want to learn more check out mbwq


- What is land?

o Land is not just a resource!

o It is a part of us!

o It is the dirt, bugs, water, plants, trees...

INDG 2015 Paola Ayala Perez

▪ There is no end nor beginning!

o Language and land

▪ Relationship between land and language

• Culture is found in language

• The tie is form culture to language to land!

- 1st Canadian institution signed April 17 1982

o gave Canada authority over Indian peoples


o Terra nullis

▪ Concept of empty land

o Made assumption aboriginals were heathens

o Polices:

▪ Royal proclamation of 1763

• Placed aboriginal ppl under the protection of the British crown

▪ 1850

• took away right of the aboriginal people to take away  Don't forget about the age old question of What are the available alternatives?


▪ 1876

• Indian act was passed

o aboriginal ppl now dependent wards of the state

▪ 1884

• Indian act emended

• protected Indians from their own culture from engaging in  


• ppl would be jailed if taking part or doing ceremonies

▪ residential school system

• to remove children from their families, assimilate them, and be rid  

of their tribes and culture, and identity!

• Every effort made to kill the Indian and the child

• 1 out of 25 children died ins the residential school

• taken because they are seen culturally and ethically inferior


▪ How aboriginals though of aboriginal rights

▪ For commerce between Canada and US


▪ Contractual/reciprocal relationship  

• Give & take

▪ 3 categories:  

• 1. Historic

o from ‘back in the day’

o before confederation (1867)

• 2. Numbered

INDG 2015 Paola Ayala Perez

o treaty 1, treaty 2, treaty 3, etc…

o numbered 1 to 11

o happened between 1871 and 1921.

• 3. Modern (AKA comprehensive land claim)

o James Bay and Northern Quebec Land Agreement

o Nunavut was established because of a modern treaty


o The colonisers began to create settlements to take minerals and oils from the  earth.

o First began with the gold rush in the Rocky Mountains

o Sole perspective was geology… not the habitat of the indigenous people they  saw

o To them, Canada was seen as simply geology and resources

o They took and took and took that ultimately, the indigenous people living there  paid the price


o “Things are materially and spiritually connected through interactions with each  other” p. 102 of the reading.  

▪ Ontology: study of what exists, in general

• Use ontology to build theories and understand the word

• Why are things the way we are, how do we relate to each other…


o Ppl’s lands were stolen

o They believed in the concept of living on the land, not owning it

o Land became the image of a woman/granny… granny law

▪ Resonates with the indigenous people in Canada

▪ Land is the woman and it’s the older woman that takes care of you

• ‘granny’ sets all the rules… mother earth… granny


o Canada day is simply a symbol for Europeans to celebrate their arrival o But Canada day in its core does not exist

o There was a lot of history before they colonised Canada

- Trudeau address to the UN

o Explains that what the aboriginals have experience is not acceptable

o He acknowledges what was done to the indigenous population

o No real push for reconciliation

▪ Only the truth and reconciliation report was created… with some  

movement and some ‘call to action’

INDG 2015 Paola Ayala Perez


o study of how the environment affects us

o The land has healing properties

▪ Plants from the land are really important

▪ Piece of the puzzle for their health sovereignty

o Reclamation

▪ Ways that indigenous people are reclaiming their land, seeds, plants

• Building the seeds for future generations

o Reconciliation

▪ Rediscovery of the origin story

▪ Interspecies relationship

▪ Reconciling relationship internally and with the environment

▪ Looking at ancient wisdom for modern application

▪ Can learn form social innovations that ancestors brought to the table and  continue to bring today


- Trees are the foundation of forests

o They are complex systems of hubs & overlapping root networks

o Makes the forest resilient

- Forests are more than what you see

- Underground- the foundation of the forests  

o Infinite biological pathways that connect trees and allow them to communicate ▪ Scientifically pine seedlings can transit carbon between each other (info) o Allows forests to act as one single organism

- Birch & fir trees have similar root systems and can send carbon info between each other o LANGUAGE: Also sent nitrogen, phosphorous, water, hormones, …info!


o Nurture the young trees through the roots

o The mother trees are connected to other mother trees


▪ Will send their excess carbon to the seedlings for survival of seedlings o Recognize their kin

▪ Send their kin more carbon below ground and reduce their root

composition to make more room to their kin

o When they are dying, they send info to their seedlings

▪ Not only carbon, but defense signals as well

o Remove too many hub trees, and the whole forest system collapses!

▪ Lack complexity & vulnerable to infections/bugs

INDG 2015 Paola Ayala Perez


o For commercial harvest

o Cut away the less valuable trees (aspens, birches) to plants those that are worth  more $$ (pines, firs)

o Canada, in the past decade has had the most forest disturbances in the world! ▪ Affects hydrological cycles, degrade wildlife habitat and emit greenhouse  gases into the atmosphere

• Eg. wildfire in Albert…


o Holds special significance to aboriginal ppls

▪ Powerful symbol of strength and revitalization

▪ Provided shelter, transportation, clothing, tools, art

▪ Considered sacred

▪ Bark & roots used for baskets & art

▪ Made into totem poles, marks, longhouses, canoes, paddles, spears,  fishing floats

▪ Medicine (anti inflammatory, tourniquet, ward off evil,  

o Resistant to decay & rot (lasts 8x more than pine)

o Natural insect repellent

o Strong, lightweight, straight grained

o Can only be gathered during a certain time of year

▪ Bark can be stripped to leave the tree healthy

o When a cedar is cut down, prayer is said to express gratitude of tree spirit o SPIRITUAL

▪ Aboriginal ppls believe cedars have their own life and spirit

- Three core First Nations principles:

o 1. Nutshimiu–Aitun (identity–territoriality)

o 2. Mishkutunam (sharing–exchange)

o 3. Pakassitishun (responsibility–autonomy)

- What is a place?

o Where ppl live

o Identity

o Land, trees * identity related to indigenous ppl

▪ They are part of the land &have an identity with the land & trees

o Ownership

▪ Are the trees also owned by people?

▪ Can the land own the trees?

INDG 2015 Paola Ayala Perez

********* EG exam question:***********

Why might consumerism be problematic for indigenous peoples? (5 marks) - Natural resources are being taken from the land to consumerism then capitalism o Consumerism is the consumption of the land…

▪ Prioritizes the industrialisation

▪ Politicians and whites use Indigenous knowledge/elders as help to “how  do we get the MOST out of the land”

o Depletes the natural resources and robs indigenous people of their food and  land

o As people take more and more for consumerism, then the land is destroyed with  mines, digs sites, etc.  

o You are MEANT to take as much as you or your community needs… however  consumerism is the total opposite as you take all of it!

- As more and more resources are needed for consumerism, then the indigenous people  loose their land

o Violent yet passive structure that eats up all the resources and takes ALL rather  than simply what you need

- Consumerism has no culture… and so if you buy into someone else’s culture, then you  don’t know their culture… you just pretend to

o Eg being Pocahontas for Halloween

o Ceremony and symbolism... feather are directly related to honouring and linking  to the land

o Not taking indigenous knowledge into consideration…

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