As winter began its stronghold on Denendeh at the start of November 2014, Dene Nahjo was honoured to host David Suzuki. Dr. Suzuki stopped off in Yellowknife as part of his cross country Blue Dot Tour. The idea of the Blue Dot Tour was to inspire people to stand up and start to make a change for the Right to a healthy environment. This colluded into the vision of Dene Nahjo – Land. Language and Culture. Forever.
David Suzuki’s Blue Dot Tour touching down in Yellowknife was timely as the first snow fell during the start of a late winter. Halloween was just a couple of days before and Trick or Treaters were treated with no snow, one of the first in recent memory. This followed one of the worst forest fire season in recorded history. The people of Denendeh experience climate change on a daily basis, this falls in line with the erratic weather patterns are of great concern to all human beings. While we may all have some way to relate to climate change, the reality is that the diverse array of Indigenous communities both in the North and around the world feel the impacts of changing climates acutely.
Dr. Suzuki spoke to a packed house at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre. We had to close the doors and close to 70 people were unable to attend. David spoke about all his years of work as a scientist and environmentalist and how it was the Indigenous people of B.C. that first guided him along that path. And how over the last 30 years most of the work is being undone by resource development companies and elected officials who put the economy over the environment. And that must change, starting with individuals but also municipalities taking on the challenge of supporting and enacting a Declaration for Environmental Rights.
After Dr. Suzuki spoke Dene Nahjo hosted a panel discussion with Dehcho Grand Chief Herb Norwegian, former President of the Haida Nation and Current Suzuki Foundation Baord Member Miles Richardson, Dechinta Bush Universtiy Program Manager Mandee McDonald and Dr. Suzuki. The Panel focused on the importance of Indigenous cultural teachings and practices in relation to the land and water and how that can help inform to move this discussion into action.
After the Blue Dot Tour stop, the City of Yellowknife adopted the Declaration. The North’s mining legacy is not one which embodies responsibility, social justice or public health; to have the City of Yellowknife support a Declaration for Environmental Rights shows bravery in leadership and sends a strong message to the North and the rest of the world – all people deserve the right to live in a healthy environment. Dene Nahjo commends the City of Yellowknife for this courageous motion in the interests of its most valuable resource -its people. Dene Nahjo was also honoured to work the David Suzuki foundation and look forward to continue working together in the future.
Here is a link to Yellowknife Blue Dot Tour details: http://bluedot.ca/events/panel-discussion-david-suzuki/
And I believe the only photo of the event….