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Learning Indigenous perspectives on sustainability

A learning series over National Indigenous History Month introduces participants to Indigenous ideas and practices related to stewardship and the environment.

Photograph of a person holding a feather
The four-part series will feature Indigenous leaders from nearby communities and within the Queen’s community. (University Communications.)

Many Indigenous communities in North America place a high value on serving as responsible stewards of the environment that sustains them. With the expanding repercussions of climate change, these Indigenous values could serve as a powerful inspiration and guide to others on how to live more sustainably. As Queen’s recognizes National Indigenous History Month throughout June, members of the university community are invited to learn about Indigenous perspectives on sustainability through a series of four online learning sessions hosted by the Sustainable Living Series and the Office of Indigenous Initiatives.

The series will feature Indigenous leaders from nearby communities and within the Queen’s community discussing a variety of topics related to the environment and sustainability. The series kicked off on June 7 with a session on the Four Medicines led by Wendy Phillips, Elder in the Office of Indigenous Initiatives.

“National Indigenous History Month is a perfect time to learn about Indigenous culture and perspectives on sustainability,” says Phillips. “Climate change is threatening our shared environment along with Indigenous ways of life. We all need to work together to make change, and these sessions will help people understand what steps they can take.”

Phillips will also lead the final session of the series on June 24 that focuses on some of the core principles found in Indigenous Ways of Knowing, including stewardship of the land and the concept of giving back.

The second session in the series was led by Kevin Deer from Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. Deer’s session was held on June 10 and focused on solutions to the climate crisis derived from Indigenous knowledge.

Chief Dave Mowat from the Alderville First Nation will lead the third session on June 17. During the session, he will introduce participants to Indigenous perspectives on stewardship.

Learn more about the Indigenous Perspectives on Sustainability Series and find out how to register on the Sustainable Queen’s website. And watch past sessions on the Sustainable Queen’s YouTube channel.