Wellness is inseparable from the land.
– Shelia Watt Cloutier
The Robertson Program and the teacher candidates participating in The Aroland Experience, traveled to Ottawa, Ontario to take part in a two-day symposium called The Land is Medicine.
The Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, the largest Indigenous health centre in Canada, hosted more than 100 educators, academics, policy makers, public health officials, community leaders, and activists to explore the importance of taking care of the land for the wellness of all people.
The truth about stories is that it’s all we are
– Thomas King
Our learning began with a candid conversation between Thomas King, author of The Inconvenient Indian, and CBC host Shelagh Rogers. The two discussed King’s most recent work 77 Fragments of a Familiar Ruin, a collection of poems highlighting the political and environmental climate. His humorous nature, much like his writing, made for an informative, thought-provoking, and entertaining evening.
It’s about the wisdom of the land, and what the land gives us.
– Shelia Watt Cloutier
The following two days were spent learning about humanizing climate change, environmental leadership, how the earth is a source of healing, and how Indigenous knowledge and people can contribute to reversing the current climate change crisis.
Autumn Peltier, 2019 Children’s International Peace Prize nominee, spoke about her efforts to mobilize efforts to create access to safe drinking water in First Nation communities. Nobel Peace Prize nominee Sheila Watt-Cloutier shared how she is influencing climate change policy around the world. Dr. Jeannette Armstrong, Canada Research Chair in Okanagan Indigenous Knowledge and Philosophy, talked about what can be learned from the relationship between the environment and the Syilx people of the West Coast. York University Professor Deborah McGregor talked about environmental governance, forest policy and management, and how sustainable development is possible for the future.
The teachings from this symposium highlighted the wisdom inherent in the land, and the urgent need to take care of the land as it takes care of us.
We thank and congratulate the staff and leadership at the Wabano Health Centre hosting this wonderful event.