The Indigenous Environmental Justice Project (York) and Great Lakes Waterworks/Water Allies (New College/University of Toronto) are pleased to announce a joint winter event series. In these events, we draw on stories as a way of thinking forward on questions of water and water governance, love and sovereignty. In Anishinaabek teachings, winter has traditionally been, and remains, a time for story-telling, reflection, restoration, and envisioning, towards the moment when the sap (sugar water) flows, and the ice breaks in the spring.
In “Be the Water” Dr. Debby Danard notes the need for building new relations with water. thinking about developing a governance structure by the water and for the water: “The concept of a governance structure by the water for the water may sound impossible. However, it is within this impossibility that there is possibility….” (2013:119). That the seemingly impossible is possible is evident by the recognition of rivers in New Zealand/Aeotera and in India as having personhood, in March 2017 (Kennedy 2012). In “Indigenous women, water justice and Zaagidowin (love), Deborah McGregor argues: “As Indigenous peoples, we can work toward healing through loving responsibility; through caring for ourselves, our communities and the Earth (waters, forests, animals, etc.). It is not enough to heal ourselves; we are obligated to heal with the Earth to fully recover from historical trauma and reclaim well-being. Power enables us to take up our responsibilities with care and love. Loving responsibilities and obligations flow from natural laws and thus are not mandated by governments through legislation, policies, funding or programs. Instead, knowing our responsibilities gives us power to act” (Deborah McGregor).
We welcome you to come and listen, as a way of reflecting and thinking openly about questions of love, water and water governance.
Co-sponsored by the Indigenous Environmental Justice Project, directed by Dr. Deborah McGregor (Osgoode Hall, York University) and Great Lakes Water Works/Water Allies Project (New College, University of Toronto), directed by Dr. Bonnie McElhinny. The Indigenous Environmental Justice Project: http://iejproject.info.yorku.ca/ is a research project that aims to develop a distinctive framework that is informed by Indigenous law, concepts of justice and the lived experiences of Indigenous people. Great Lakes Water Works/Water Allies is a hub for water issues at New College within the University of Toronto. We bring together U of T scholars researching and teaching about water, and Toronto/ Great Lakes communities active in water issues. Water allies is inspired by decolonial, feminist and anti-racist approaches in the social sciences and humanities. We are guided by the Guswenta (Two Row Wampum) and other covenants of this place. We honour and are inspired by the Dish with One Spoon Treaty. We strive to work in friendship, honouring the principles of community based research (respect, responsibility, reciprocity and relevance). We work towards, and on the basis of, alliance, guided by these principles.
What we do to the Water, We do to ourselves
Date: Thursday, January 10th, 2019
Time: 5:00 pm- 7:00 pm
Location: Rm 2007 D New College, University of Toronto (St. George Campus)
Speaker: Dr.Debby Danard
Dr. Debby Danard, an Anishnaabe-kwe from Rainy River First Nation will be performing a water ceremony and sharing Indigenous water teachings as a way to challenge the way people think about water that go beyond law, policy and citizen science. In 2006, Danard went on her first water walk and it was after this she started thinking of water through ceremony. Her knowledge and experience will be sure to change the way we consider water and help us identify with water as humans, as this can help bring things back into balance. As Deborah says, “what we do to the water, we do to ourselves!”
Anishnaabekwe (Ojibway) from Rainy River first Nation in North Western Ontario. She is a PhD graduate from University of Toronto, a water walker, advocate and water ambassador who speaks and performs water ceremonies to raise awareness of the spiritual nature and rights of water. She is also a traditional life practitioner and life promotion ambassador and shares these teachings in schools and community organizations.
Nibi Onje Biimaadiiziiwin: Water is Life
Date: Tuesday, January 15th, 2019
Time: 10 am
Location: Room 2007D,, Wilson Lounge, University of Toronto (St. George Campus)
Panel: Sue Chiblow (PhD, York University) Deborah McGregor (Osgoode Hall) Aimee Craft (Lawyer, University of Ottawa)
Nibi Onje Biimaadiiziiwin: Water is Life brings together three esteemed Indigenous scholars to lead a panel and share knowledge on their stories, experiences and research, to foster dialogue on Indigenous water law and concerns facing our waters and Indigenous communities today. We welcome Sue Chiblow of Garden River First Nation, a PhD student at York University’s Environmental Studies program, examining humanity’s relationship with water, Aimee Craft (Anishinaabe-Métis) who is assistant professor at the Faculty of Common law at the University of Ottawa, specializing in Anishinaabe and Canadian Aboriginal law, and Deborah McGregor, a cross-appointed professor at York University from Osgoode Hall and the Faculty of Environmental Studies, whose research focuses on Indigenous knowledge systems and their various applications toward water, environmental governance and environmental justice. Together these scholars aim to create conversations to support further knowledge and research on water and Indigenous legal traditions.
Sue is from Garden River First Nation. She has worked extensively with First Nation communities in environmental related fields and has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology and a Master’s degree in Environment and Management. She is currently pursuing a PhD in the Environmental Studies program at York University. Her PhD research examines humanity’s relationship to water and efforts on improvement for humans, animals and finding reconciliation with water itself.
Since 2013, Craft has lead research on Anishinaabe water law. An Indigenous lawyer (Anishinaabe-Métis), Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Common law at University of Ottawa and an Adjunct Professor in Law at the University of Manitoba, her expertise is in Anishinaabe and Canadian Aboriginal law. Professor Craft is one of the lead researchers on Water sustainability and indigenous laws and on hydo-impacted communities in Northern Manitoba. In 2016 she was voted one of the top 25 most influential lawyers in Canada.
Professor Deborah McGregor joined York University’s Osgoode Hall law faculty in 2015 as a cross-appointee with the Faculty of Environmental Studies. Professor McGregor’s research has focused on Indigenous knowledge systems and their various applications in diverse contexts including water and environmental governance, environmental justice, forest policy and management, and sustainable development. Her research has been published in a variety of national and international journals and she has delivered numerous public and academic presentations relating to Indigenous knowledge systems, governance and sustainability. Professor McGregor, who is Anishinaabe from Whitefish River First Nation, Birch Island, Ontario, is the Primary Investigator on two current SSHRC-funded projects: Indigenous Environmental (In)Justice: theory and practice and Indigenizing the First Nations Land Management Regime.
Walking for the Water
Date: March 7th, 2019
Location: York University
Speaker or Panel: Kelsey Leonard
Kelsey Leonard is a PhD candidate from the Department of Political Science at McMaster University and the first Native American woman to earn a science degree from the University of Oxford, which she earned in 2012, she has an MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management from St. Cross College, Her master's thesis, “Water Quality For Native Nations: Achieving A Trust Responsibility”, discusses water quality regulation and how water resources on tribal land are not protected. Kelsey strives to be a strong advocate for the protection of Indigenous waters through enhanced interjurisdictional coordination and meaningful consultation. She has been instrumental in protecting the interests of Tribes with the development of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Action Plan and building a sustainable ocean future by valuing Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge. A part of her research has been creating dialogue with the Great Lake Water Walkers to better understand the threats to water protection in the Great Lakes, representing a call to action for Indigenous water governance. Accompanying Kelsey are a panel of Water Walkers who will share their stories, struggles and experiences.