Climate Crisis and Indigenous Youth Resilience

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As a way to respond to the global state of human disconnect from the environment, AIR (the Alliance for Intergenerational Resilience) and collaborators initiated two virtual Wisdom Councils between Indigenous Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and youth to explore how to centre Indigenous thinking and life ways into Indigenous and intercultural planetary healing work. Wisdom Council participants represented Indigenous peoples from Aotearoa/New Zealand (Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāi Te Ranginui, Te Arawa & Ngāti Porou iwi, Tauranga Moana; Waitaha taiwhenua ki Waitaki); Turtle Island/Canada (Coast Salish, Nêhiyaw/Cree Nation, Dene, Tsimishan & Scottish, Cree and Metis, Mi’kmaq/ Vancouver Island, Anishinaabe, and Deshkhan Ziibi/SW Ontario); and Alba/Scotland (Outer Hebrides and Shetland). A key theme present in the dialogue was the importance of Indigenous languages for informing our conduct as human beings as these languages are deeply rooted in the environment. Significantly, there is a connection found when considering the health of Indigenous cultures and languages and the health of the planet. In addition to this, we found that there is a need to strengthen connections between Elders and youth, not only for the purposes of intergenerational knowledge transmission but to also deepen mutual understandings regarding processes and protocol to guide the adaptation of Indigenous knowledges and lifeways to meet contemporary challenges. In order to deepen the conversations held in these Wisdom Councils, we propose to hold a talking circle for Indigenous youth with the purpose of exploring challenges faced when it comes to carrying traditional knowledge forward in contemporary times.

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