Re-Indigenizing the Planet in the Anthropocene
Jeannette Armstrong, Canada Research Chair, Indigenous Okanagan Philosophy, UBC Okanagan
Coach House, Green College
Wednesday, November 15, 5 pm
Much of my life’s work focuses on resistance to hopelessness as a way to find strategies that provide hopeful agency to Indigenous Peoples’ efforts to continue to care for and to defend their homelands. I have found that many others are seekers of a way to be the change that is required to heal society and the planet. The fundamental task before all of us is to mobilize a shift in the social paradigm toward ecological sustainability. Resituating the concept of “sustainability” toward a focus on the creation of “communities of hope” is necessary. Finding collaborative ways to create viable local community mechanisms provides a way that assists in changing the relationship of people to their environment. Such change means actualizing in communities the concept of “we are people of this place.” Triggering a foundation for an ecologically sound shift takes place if there are consciously focused ways to “re-Indigenize” places that need their inhabitants to do things differently together. The human desire to be a “part of” community, when combined with immediate benefits to people with strategic long-term outcomes, may be a solution. People nourished by “place” embed long-term sustainability as a part of their lives. They celebrate its value and the need to maintain it, because it is essential. Transformation of values toward place happens when new ways that meet life needs also bring fulfillment emotionally and spiritually. Hope and solutions are possible through supporting and empowering new relationships to place by finding ways to actualize “communities of change” through works that are beneficial in concrete and visible ways, for people and the environment.
Jeannette Armstrong is Syilx Okanagan, a fluent speaker and teacher of the Nsyilxcn Okanagan language and a traditional knowledge keeper of the Okanagan Nation. She is a founder of En’owkin, the Okanagan Nsyilxcn language and knowledge institution of higher learning of the Syilx Okanagan Nation. She currently is Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Okanagan Philosophy at UBC Okanagan. She has a PhD in Environmental Ethics and Syilx Indigenous Literatures. She is the recipient of the EcoTrust Buffett Award for Indigenous Leadership and in 2016 of the BC George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award. She is an author whose published works include poetry, prose and children’s literary titles and academic writing on a wide variety of Indigenous issues. She currently serves on Canada’s Traditional Knowledge Subcommittee of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1