Resource | Video
The Breathing Lands

Video by Allan Lissner, Praxis Pictures

6 March 2012

The Elders of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation say the water flows through their blood and their bodies are built of the trout that swim in these clean rivers and lakes.

Taking care of their watershed is a relationship at the core of who they are as an Indigenous Nation, it is a responsibility handed down to them from the Creator through the teachings of their Elders.

The Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) people have governed and cared for their Indigenous Homeland — Kitchenuhmaykoosib Aaki — since time before memory, passing on their way of life from one generation to the next.

Human remains found in Wapekeka have been carbon dated from over 7,000 years ago. Similar remains found within the KI village were dated to be over 5,000 years old — evidence that Indigenous peoples have occupied these exact village sites for over 350 generations.

But things are changing rapidly in KI and the elders are struggling to prepare the youth to meet these challenges.

KI is located at a relatively high latitude, which means they are likely to experience the impacts of global climate change early and more severely than most other places.

The close connection of the KI people to the land and climate means that the disrupted weather patterns and increasing incidents of extreme weather will hit particularly hard on the people of KI.

KI’s territory is also rich in minerals and precious metals, which has attracted various mining and exploration companies who have attempted to operate on KI lands without the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of the community.

The elders feel that passing on their traditional knowledge to the younger generations is vital to providing them with the tools to adapt to the ongoing social and environmental changes they see happening around them

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