Art by Patrick Hunter
April 22 is Earth Day. It is an annual event celebrated across the world to draw attention to the needs of the environment and connect people back to nature.
The land that we now call Canada is on the traditional lands of Indigenous peoples. Teen Talk works across Manitoba, but is based in Winnipeg which is on Ininew (Cree) and Anishinaabe (Ojibway) lands. We are also in the heart of the Métis nation. Now that Canada exists we are on Treaty 1 land.
All people who live on this land share the history of the continuing impacts of colonization. It is not just the history of Indigenous peoples or settlers of the past. By living on this land, it is part of your history too.
Colonization is the process by which Europeans took over this land (what we now call Canada) from the Indigenous peoples who live here. It began with the racist idea that Indigenous peoples are “uncivilized” or “less than” European people. These unjust and inaccurate ideas were used so that the European settlers and their descendants would not question the abuse and discrimination used on Indigenous peoples while taking resources from their land. Colonization is rooted in the history of contact between Europeans and Indigenous peoples but it continues today.
As part of Earth day we encourage people to reflect on the history of this land and the impacts of colonization on it and its original peoples. All of our bodies are reflections of the land. When we pollute the land and extract it’s resources the health of those who live on it is reflected. When we protect and care for the land our bodies grow strong with it.
Want to help?
We can all speak out against the land injustices in Canada. You can learn about the inherent land rights Indigenous peoples and share the information with those around you. Read about the risks that things like pipelines bring to all the communities and the land they pass through including Line 3 in Manitoba.
Read and learn Indigenous perspectives on how the land and our bodies are connected. Red Rising Magazine has published many great articles and art pieces on this topic. Here are some of our favourites:
The more we all know and care about the land, the better it will be protected. Petition, organize and protest what’s going on. Look for active groups that exist in your community or start one yourself. It is only with people speaking out, that the land can be preserved and restored.