The research project I took part in was Dr. Elizabeth Steyn’s UNEP project. This project is focused on responsible and sustainable mining, terms which are not easily defined. To briefly explain, mining itself cannot be sustainable because the resources involved are not renewable. To mine sustainably we need to invest back into the communities impacted by mines, providing skills and knowledge that can be utilized even after mines close. The industry is responsible if the environment and all stakeholders are considered. My role in this project was to look at ways in which Indigenous communities in Canada are impacted by mining projects. I provided insight to the effects mining has on Indigenous communities so that Dr. Steyn and her team can apply this information to their work on the UNEP project.
In addition to this my research output consisted of a beading project inspired by my research work and the origins of Ode'imin, known as the Strawberry teaching. The particular teaching I referenced comes from elder Lilian Pitwanakwat of Curve Lake First Nation. The heart berry helps us understand the connection between the mind, body, spirit, and emotions. We need our heart to guide us in order to maintain personal balance. The heart berry also reminds us of reconciliation and teaches us how to maintain heartfelt relationships in our families and communities. I was able to use this teaching to reflect and understand my thoughts and emotions towards the dark side of mining, but also recognize the parts that are positive.