12 Decolonizing the Concept of Land in Canada

Kaitlyn Stadnyk

Title: Decolonizing the Concept of Land in Canada

Kaitlyn Stadnyk


The coinciding crises of climate change and colonialism are scrutinized through a deep collection of literature to uncover the diverse ways colonial practices shaped Canadian landscapes. The study intends to address the contemporary climate crisis by decolonizing Canada’s history of environmental justice. The research aims to answer the following questions: How do you solve the greatest crisis humanity has ever faced? What are the values that guide current environmental regulations? The approach to these questions is to examine what is already known in other Nations and groups worldwide and import environmental strategies and policies to Canada. Through qualitative and quantitative data, the report confirms that researchers cannot embody minority groups without having personally experienced the disadvantages they frequently endure.


Before beginning the chapter, I must acknowledge that we are currently situated on Treaty 4 land, the Cree, Saulteaux, Dakota, Lakota, Nakota, and Metis peoples’ ancestral homeland. This chapter commences with a general overview of colonization and then describes Canada’s historical and ongoing processes of colonizing lands and legislation. This contextual section scrutinizes the coinciding crises of climate change and colonialism through a deep collection of literature to uncover the diverse ways colonial practices shaped Indigenous landscapes. For instance, according to the doctrines of discovery, European explorers viewed Canadian land as a commodity that needed to be conquered and exploited (Monchalin, 2016). However, this chapter discovers that land was not always a commodity in North America, as Indigenous people lived in harmony with their ecosystems prior to the arrival of Europeans (McFarlane & Schabus, 2017). In particular, McFarlane and Schabus (2017) explain that Indigenous laws and worldviews have a profound spiritual connection to the land as the earth governs their traditions and practices. Therefore, at the heart of colonialism is the violent and voluntary segregation of Indigenous peoples from their spiritual relationship with the land in the quest toward colonizing a New World. The criminal nature of the Canadian government’s dealings with Indigenous lands for capitalist purposes is reflected through ongoing legislation permitting the poisoning of Indigenous territories for resource extraction processes.

This discussion surrounding colonization ties into a general description of decolonization before introducing specific decolonization tactics regarding Canadian lands and legislation. For example, decolonization is best understood as a nation-to-nation partnership between settlers and Indigenous peoples that intends to undo the effects of colonialism and uncover the harm caused by governments and powerful institutions (Asadullah, 2021). Decolonizing the concept of land in Canada grants the colonized the power to rewrite historical techniques that have previously concealed the violent laws colonizers used to steal their land (Shawush, 2022). Notably, Indigenous teachings and legal traditions view all life on earth as interconnected, and environmental problems are often the result of social and political systems (McFarlane & Schabus, 2017). Thus, if Canada is genuine and sincere about decolonization, it must recognize that the colonial history of environmental legislation has aided in shaping and sustaining diversions that hinder decolonization. For decolonization to be successful, land legislation must be reclaimed by Indigenous peoples, shaped by Indigenous traditions, and democratically controlled by Indigenous values.

This analysis concludes with the exploration of three wise practices for the future of the Canadian environment. For example, traditional land-based healing programs, environmental movements, and environmental justice initiatives may prove fruitful in shedding light on innovative environmental strategies that can be imported to Canada. Accordingly, the Chisasibi land-based healing program, located in James Bay, Quebec, was the first Cree nation in Canada to take back complete control of land and social services and has inspired other nations, such as the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s Jackson Lake Healing Camp in Yukon and Hubert Jim’s Home Of The Winter Spirit in Sutikalh B.C. (Chisasibi Wellness, 2019). The 1973 Chipko Movement remains the most successful environmental protest to date. The women in India, who were entirely dependent on nearby forestries, saved 12,000 square kilometres of sensitive watersheds by resorting to nonviolent tactics (Warren, 1997, p. 5). The creation of declarations and recommendations, such as the 2021 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), require that exploitation and expropriation projects and policies secure Indigenous peoples’ free, prior, and informed consent before undertaking projects affecting Indigenous lands and resources (United Nations, 2008). The chapter’s primary goal is to identify and address how the contemporary climate crisis adversely affects Indigenous communities by decolonizing Canada’s colonial history and the concept of nature as a commodity.


The phrase colonization is derived from the Latin terms “Colere,” to cultivate, “Colonia,” meaning a farm, and “Colonus,” which refers to the farmer (Kumar, 2021, p. 286). By extension, within the Eurocentric worldview, the definition of colonization denotes inhabiting occupied Indigenous lands. Canadian colonization occurred when European nations conquered and dismantled Indigenous populations and territories by imposing their own cultures, religion, and laws (Monchalin, 2016). For Monchalin (2016), the dispossession of the country’s original inhabitants emerged through the doctrine of Crown title, which granted European explorers and settlers the right to assimilate. Ultimately, the “colonial assault on Indigenous governance, languages, knowledge systems, spiritualities, worldviews, and ways of living was also an assault on the environment” (Simpson, 2004, p. 123).

Historical Colonization of Canadian Land

Colonialism began with the unwarranted appropriation and seizure of unsurrendered Indigenous land founded on doctrines of discovery (Monchalin, 2016). Monchalin reports that historic Canadian laws recognized the concept of “terra nullius, meaning a territory without people . . . one that was either previously unoccupied or not recognized as belonging to another political entity” (2016, p. 62). According to the European definition, when settlers arrived in North America, they could blatantly deny the existence of Indigenous peoples and justify the acquisition by European occupation of unsurrendered, occupied Indigenous lands as their own. For example, Monchalin highlights that prior to the arrival of European settlers in Northern America, more than 112 million Indigenous peoples lived and thrived in harmony with their ecosystems (2016, p. 62). It is well documented by the early Europeans that the land and animals were “plentiful and in good health at the time of contact” (Simpson, 2004, p. 123). Simpson proclaims that “this is a testament to the values, knowledge, and respectful way of life practiced by the members of Indigenous Nations” (2004, p. 123). However, when Christopher Columbus disembarked in the Americas, he arrived with an understanding that he was legally obliged to adhere to the ingrained doctrines of discovery and assumed responsibility for land occupied by non-Christian peoples. These legal documents are what Europeans employed to gain authority to push Indigenous peoples off their traditional lands.

Prior to the arrival of European settlers, Indigenous people lived in harmony with their ecosystems (McFarlane & Schabus, 2017). McFarlane and Schabus (2017) report that Indigenous laws and worldviews have a profound spiritual connection to the land as the earth governs their traditions and practices. For instance, early Europeans well-documented that Canadian lands and animals were “plentiful and in good health at the time of contact” (Simpson, 2004, p. 123). Thus, for European settlers to assume control of and transform unsurrendered Indigenous land into their capitalist homeland, they consciously chose to assimilate and weaken the Indigenous occupants (Monchalin, 2016). From an Indigenous perspective, these doctrines of discovery granted them “the same rights and freedoms as a rabbit running on the ground, or a turkey, or a deer or a buffalo” (TreeTV / N2K Need to Know, 2015, 1:47).

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that “the doctrine of terra nullius never applied in Canada; as a result, they have never been renounced and prevail as the basis for the laws Canadians adhere to today” (Conner, 2021, para. 1). For example, the Indian Act of 1876 is a crucial part of history, whereby policies were created to eradicate Indigenous peoples’ cultural, economic, social, and political traditions by absorbing them into settler society and functioned to conceal imperial theft, exploitation, and expropriation (McFarlane & Schabus, 2017). McFarlane and Schabus (2017) highlight that although the Indian Act has been amended numerous times in the twenty-first century, it maintains the foundation of the Canadian colonization of Indigenous peoples. As a result, Indigenous people endure a life-or-death generational battle for respect, restoration, and land rights recognition.

Ongoing Colonization of Canadian Land

Colonialism was not a dark chapter in Canadian history, a singular event, or an oppressive set of laws, but rather an ongoing global phenomenon that affects every corner of the world (Bourne, 2021). Colonialism is woven into the very fabric and machinery of Canadian institutions, systems, laws, and policies. For example, all decision-making authority over Indigenous lands and resources remains in state institutions, and Indigenous peoples are often denied important decision-making positions (Monchalin, 2016). Canada’s exploitation and expropriation projects and policies have posed distinctive threats to Indigenous communities, with over 200 Indigenous communities living without access to clean drinking water and other forms of infrastructure (TEDx Talks, 2019, 6:19). Indigenous lands are targeted, exploited, and polluted in the ongoing colonial quest for minerals, trees, oil, and gas because their territories are situated in biodiverse and resource-rich regions with revenue-generating potential for extracting oil, gas, or other resources (Squires et al., 2020). The 2021 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) has become the most comprehensive international instrument recognizing Indigenous peoples’ inherent right to their ancestral lands and resources (United Nations, 2008). In particular, Article 10 of UNDRIP calls upon Canada to secure Indigenous peoples’ free, prior, and informed consent when undertaking projects affecting their lands and resources (Borrows, 2021, p. 236). However, Borrows (2021) discovered that across Canada, the duty to consult Indigenous peoples is too often in tension with the economic interests of extractive companies and governments. Borrows contends that one side of the climate debate centres on whether projects such as “Keystone XL, Trans Mountain, or Coastal GasLink” have hindered wise practices protecting Indigenous rights to traditional lands (2021, p. 240). Consequently, the ongoing poisoning of Indigenous lands and territories for resource extraction processes, including placing garbage dumps, toxic landfills or building heavily polluting industries in close proximity to Indigenous communities, poses a significant humanitarian dilemma (Squires et al., 2020).

As history progresses, research has shown that Indigenous communities are the first to encounter the consequences of climate change due to their relationship with the land (McFarlane & Schabus, 2017). McFarlane and Schabus (2017) highlight that sacred spaces have been converted into provincial parks or industrialized landscapes; waterways are used as toxic dumpsites; wetlands and forests are cleared for settlement; animals and plants are no longer safe for consumption; and humans have begun to develop rare forms of cancers. Although the Canadian government has adopted declarations and recommendations, it has been proven that government-led initiatives may contribute more harm than good to nearby communities, waterways, wildlife, and ecosystems (Asadullah, 2021).


The term ‘decolonization’ was coined by Henri Fonfrède in early 1836 and has since been employed by numerous disciplines and settings, including education, governance, justice, psychology, research methods, and transitional justice (Asadullah, 2021, p. 29). Asadullah (2021) saw decolonization as addressing historical harms and grievances of Indigenous communities and acknowledging that government-led initiatives may contribute more harm than good. For Fanon (1963), the colonial world can be defined through early settler-Indigenous relationships and has been shaped and sustained by violence. Fanon states that the process of decolonization “sets out to change the order of the world” and is, therefore, “a program of complete disorder” (1963, p. 36). According to Etherington, “decolonization is a process through which the colonized liberate themselves politically and psychologically” (2016, p. 156). For Monchalin (2016), decolonization shifts away from colonial structures, discourses, and ideologies because decolonization’s goal is to restore cultures, ceremonies and praxis. Dr. Michael Yellow Bird of North Dakota’s Arikara and Hidatsa Nations emphasizes that cultural practices, thinking, beliefs and values are medicine for Indigenous Peoples (Clarke & Yellow Bird, 2021). Accordingly, Clarke and Yellow Bird (2021) define decolonization as activities that weaken colonialism’s effects, facilitate resistance, heal trauma, and develop opportunities for traditional practices in the present-day setting. The concept of neurodecolonization, coined by Dr. Yellow Bird, conceptualizes decolonization as “a process of freeing ourselves from post-colonial culture and thought, from dependence on Eurocentric ideas, philosophies, beliefs, and theories” (Monchalin, 2016, p. 294).

The process of decolonization can occur at multiple levels. For instance, some scholars take a macro-level approach to decolonization, including self-governance, land and wealth redistribution, and policy reform (Fanon, 1963; Tuck & Yang, 2012). In the context of Indigenous land, Tuck and Yang (2012) report that the macro aspect of decolonization involves dismantling current colonial services and returning land, power, and wealth to the original stewards. On the other hand, the decolonization of mind and body informs the micro perspective, as the restoration of culture, traditional teachings, and land can be healing (Monchalin, 2016). Asadullah (2021) describes micro-decolonization as consolidating with Indigenous communities to implement unbiased land rights for the natural world and its human and non-human inhabitants. The current legal system is based on Eurocentric worldviews, and decolonizing the Canadian land legislation can pave the way for Indigenous peoples to regain their land rights.

Decolonizing the Concept of Land in Canada

Decolonization gives the colonized the power to rewrite historical techniques that previously concealed the violent forces colonizers used to steal their land (Shawush, 2022). Therefore, if Canada is serious about decolonizing environmental history, it must recognize that its legal systems and structures are grounded in Eurocentric worldviews and have become a source of injustice for Indigenous peoples. Legislation must be reclaimed by Indigenous peoples, shaped by Indigenous traditions, and democratically controlled by Indigenous values. Indigenous peoples must engage in decolonization in a politically, socially, and legally complex context to avoid bias and ineffective acts, laws, and policies. Elders state that just as it has taken five hundred years to create the colonial relationship we struggle against today, it will take longer to decolonize, reclaim culture, and reinstate a traditional system of governance (Simpson, 2004, p. 121). For McFarlane and Schabus (2017), the starting point must be acknowledging what was done in order for European settlers to reside on unsurrendered Indigenous lands and territories.

According to the works of Monchalin (2016) and McCoy et al. (2014), education encourages the government to abandon the Eurocentric colonial-based model and emphasize the role of Indigenous cosmologies in comprehensively educating the general public about historical and current colonial practices. It is crucial not to employ decolonization as a metaphor for dismantling our societies and schools because it entails repatriating Indigenous land and life (Tuck & Yang, 2012). Tuck and Yang highlight that, over time, the idea of “redistribution of wealth camouflages how much of that wealth is Native land” (2012, p. 23). For example, 89% of Canada’s land is Crown land, 41% is federal crown land, 48% is provincial Crown land, and the remaining 11% is privately owned (Salazar, 2021, para. 6). Salazar reports that Indigenous peoples hold 6.3% of the total landmass of Canada (2021, para. 1). Although Indigenous peoples comprise less than 5% of the population, they protect 80% of the earth’s biodiversity in the forests, deserts, grasslands, and marine environments they have lived in for centuries (Sena, 2020, para. 1). Nevertheless, Kanyinke Sena warns that Indigenous peoples’ environmental efforts on that land receive less than 1% of conservation financing (2020, para. 1). Monchalin (2016) reports that, under the Indian Act, Indigenous peoples do not own their land and the federal government has the ultimate power to regulate infrastructure in the form of roads, railways, boat ports, and legislation. We cannot simply eliminate the Indian Act; instead, it must be dismantled and reformed by delivering powers and consulting Indigenous communities. The decolonization of land, power, and wealth requires the abolition of land as property and upholds the sovereignty of Indigenous land and peoples (Tuck & Yang, 2012).

Wise Practices

Although Indigenous roles and innovative approaches are often undermined in public discourses on climate change, Indigenous peoples analyze and respond to climate crises by drawing on traditional knowledge to help enhance the resilience of ecosystems (Borrows, 2021). Borrows (2021) highlights that if Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples consolidated to learn the history of the land and stayed informed of current systems of colonialism, Canada would be miles ahead regarding the current climate crisis. However, the current environmental curriculum aims to conceal or justify settler occupation and overconsumption of stolen land (McCoy et al., 2014). McCoy et al. (2014) emphasize the role of Indigenous cosmologies in comprehensively educating the general public about historical and current colonial practices. Thus, wise practices, such as traditional land-based education and healing, environmental movements, and environmental justice, may prove fruitful in shedding light on innovative decolonial strategies that can be imported to Canada.

Land-Based Healing Programs

The Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee, located in James Bay, Quebec, was the first and is the only remaining Cree nation in Canada to take complete control of health and social services on a regional scale after the signing of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA) in 1975 (Chisasibi Wellness, 2019, p. 1). In 2005, the Northern Quebec Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay began integrating Indigenous knowledge, wisdom, and traditions into land-based practices (Chisasibi Wellness, 2014, 1:11). The Chisasibi land-based program’s primary function is to consolidate community members’ input on matters affecting their community to assist the Council in implementing effective policies and strategies to promote the health and social welfare of Chisasibi residents, wildlife and ecosystems (Radu, 2018). For Radu, the Chisasibi Land-based healing program functions as an “alternative approach in justice or education that combines active treatment and health promotion” (2018, p. 13). Partnerships with academia provide students and participants with a unique experience of Indigenous environmental values while simultaneously addressing systemic issues such as climate change, this is because people who spend time in nature tend to be more inclined to protect it. Radu acknowledges that the Chisasibi land-based program includes a “dimension of personal safety in terms of survival-skills training delivered by community Elders” (2018, p. 19). Radu (2018) reports that Elders emphasize the land’s healing powers and how cultural traditions enable distressed individuals to manage emotions and trauma that have historical roots in colonial policies. Radu states that “living on the land, pursuing hunting and traditional activities, eating bush food, and actively contributing to family and community life, participants recognize the autonomy and agency of the land, its impact on human ways of knowing and being” (2018, p. 11).

The Jackson Lake Healing Program, inspired by the success of Chisasibi, was developed by the Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) in 2010 (Radu, 2018, p. 46). The Indigenous community in Whitehorse Yukon built a land-based treatment centre in their traditional territory, which garnered national attention for how it “overcomes the effects of colonization” (Gordon Loverin, 2016, 3:10). According to Radu, the Jackson Lake Healing Program combines micro forms of decolonization, such as the restoration of traditional therapeutic practices, “including smudging, sacred fire keeping, prayer, drumming, and singing, sweat lodge, circle work, with land-based and cultural healing, clinical therapy, and alternative healing” (2018, p. 47). To emphasize and rekindle connections to the land, Radu reveals that “the Jackson Lake program includes medicine walks whereby participants learn to identify and prepare plant-based medicines as a compelling reminder of the sacred relationship with traditional territories” (2018, p. 18)

Sutikalh is a pristine mountainside located on the traditional territories of the Lil’wat Nation near Pemberton, British Columbia (Macdonald, 2019, para. 2). Macdonald reports that Sutikalh, otherwise known as the Home Of The Winter Spirit, is Canada’s longest-running protest camp, beginning in 2000 in response to plans to build a $500 million ski resort on Lil’wat lands without consulting the St’át’imc (2019, para. 2). Hubert Jim, the king of the mountain, states that “when you learn to live in a place like this and decolonize yourself, the world is beautiful” (Kelly Patrick Moore, 2017, 3:54). Jim lives alone on the pristine mountainside in protest of colonizing its vast ecosystem. According to Kelly Patrick Moore’s interview with Jim, the protest is about the “land, water, air, and animals because every living thing is important and has a purpose on this planet” (2017, 1:44). Ultimately, land-based healing programs are considered decolonized practices because healthy and prospering Indigenous communities are the foundation for decolonizing Canadian lands and legislation. Thus, acknowledging the land’s healing powers and cultural traditions will provide holistic models of well-being needed to achieve autonomy and self-determination.

The Chipko Environmental Movement

The Chipko Movement began in April 1973 in Uttar Pradesh’s Mandal village in the upper Alakananda valley in response to the government’s decision to allot Indigenous forests to a sporting goods company (Right Livelihood, 2021, para. 3). These government policies prevented residents from managing their lands and denied them access to lumber (Warren, 1997). Warren reports that lumber provides five essential elements in these household economies: “food, fuel, fodder, products (including building materials, household utensils, gardens, dyes, medicines), and income” (1997, p. 6). Subsequently, the women in the Himalayan region, who were entirely dependent on these forestries, formed human chains around the trees to prevent deforestation on a massive scale for commercial and industrial activity (Right Livelihood, 2021). The Hindi translation of Chipko means to hug, and Right Livelihood states that it reflects the Himalayan women’s primary tactic of embracing trees to impede loggers (2021, para. 3).

Right Livelihood (2021) acknowledges that another particular feature of this influential movement is the use of oral traditions. For example, Right Livelihood (2021) documents that the participants lived in secluded areas, which limited their ability to spread messages. However, Right Livelihood (2021) notes that the movement eventually spread its doctrines through folk songs and marches. Ultimately, Right Livelihood reports that the Chipko Movement “remains the most successful” in decolonial history and continues to inspire Indigenous nations worldwide to resort to peaceful protests and employ women and children as the frontline warriors against the destruction and exploitation of sacred lands (2021, para. 6).

The Te Awa Tupua Act

In 2017, the New Zealand government passed the Te Awa Tupua Act, otherwise known as the Whanganui River Claims Settlement, granting the Whanganui River “legal personhood, with all the duties, rights, and liabilities of a human citizen” (Monod de Froideville & Bowling, 2022, p. 267). Monod de Froideville and Bowling (2022) report that the Te Awa Tupua Act emerged through the longest-running legal case in New Zealand history whereby Whanganui iwi residents fought against colonial grievances. As a result, Monod de Froideville and Bowling reveal that the Whanganui River is the first to be awarded the right to “sue and be sued in court, enter and enforce legal contracts, and own property” (2022, p. 271). According to the Māori worldview, Monod de Froideville and Bowling highlight that “the spirits of passed loved ones inhabit geographical features such as rivers, mountains, and trees, and therefore it is the responsibility of present-day Māori to act as guardians of their environmental ancestors” (2022, p. 271). Subsequently, Monod de Froideville and Bowling (2022) reveal that the Te Awa Tupua Act has been commemorated worldwide as a groundbreaking piece of environmental legislation that promises to advance the protection of the natural environment and usher in new Global Environmental ethics. The act embodies active reconciliation with governments and Indigenous populations in New Zealand and provides Canada with a framework for how Eurocentric and Indigenous worldviews can collectively come together to discuss approaches to environmental protection.


The examples discussed in this chapter are based in Canada; however, it is essential to note that colonization is a global phenomenon, whereby there is not a single corner of the world where colonization has not been enacted (TEDx Talks, 2019). However, throughout my research, I discovered a remarkable lack of Canadian literature to support the connection between Indigenous legal traditions and the environment in a decolonial context. These gaps in the literature are apparent due to the absence of data to support the connection between Indigenous legal traditions and the environment in a decolonial context. In essence, contemporary research fails to consider and consolidate new ways of thinking about climate change by looking through the perspectives of the Indigenous communities most affected. For example, academic, politically correct articles authored by Indigenous populations were difficult to find, whereas there were many Indigenous-based art pieces, poems, and films. Simpson ponders, “what will be left of the land after another five hundred years of exploitation that supports unfettered economic and industrial growth” (2004, p. 122)?

A climate report by the United Nations published in February 2022 urges the world to adapt now or suffer later (Spring et al., 2022, para. 1). Spring et al.’s report clarifies that “climate change is impacting the world far faster than scientists had anticipated on nearly all grounds” (2022, para. 4). As a result, Spring et al. call for drastic action on a large scale, citing that “at least half the planet needs to be conserved and protected to ensure” future generations’ ability to maintain cultural, economic, and political autonomy (2022, para. 1). Although it is an underdeveloped and under-researched area, there is a growing demand for the widespread inclusion of Indigenous populations within climate reporting. For instance, Indigenous peoples analyze and respond to climate crises by drawing on traditional knowledge to help enhance the resilience of ecosystems. Indigenous peoples protect 80% of the earth’s biodiversity in the forests, deserts, grasslands, and marine environments they have lived in for centuries (Sena, 2020, para. 1). Therefore, a holistic and collaborative approach is paramount in developing integrated, affordable and sustainable solutions for the current climate crisis.


To decolonize Eurocentric concepts of land, we must give a voice to Indigenous peoples, who are often silenced by colonization and the concept of nature as a commodity that needs to be conquered and exploited (Monchalin, 2016). This chapter proves that colonization is not an abstract or historical concept. Indigenous peoples and territories are targeted for industrial settlement and resource extraction more than socially and economically privileged groups. Land injustices are more than legal or economic issues, as the concept of land plays an integral role in Indigenous peoples’ cultural, spiritual, and religious values and traditions. Nevertheless, all the earth’s resources have been privatized and industrialized. This colonial legacy of legal land theft has significantly shaped and sustained diversions that hinder decolonization. A growing number of the world’s seven billion inhabitants realize that their lives encounter nature in many ways, including rising sea levels, forest fires, and endangered or extinct species (Gacek & Jochelson, 2022, p. 1). Subsequently, the Canadian government is at a standstill to either head down the same destructive economic pursuit or guide a dramatic ecocentric shift towards safer and greener alternatives that reflect Indigenous values and rights to traditional lands. Therefore, my chapter aims to contribute to conversations concerning the origins of climate crises and what we can learn from Indigenous epistemological and ontological accounts of the land’s spiritual, emotional, and intellectual aspects. Ultimately, from an ontological perspective, sacred lands in the Indigenous cultural paradigm are all-encompassing terms that are relational to all life on earth. Thus, a more rigorous nation-to-nation relationship will emerge and persist by allowing Indigenous peoples to educate the public on past and present land injustices.

Discussion Questions

How do we solve the greatest crisis humanity has ever faced?

What will be left of Canadian lands after another five hundred years of exploitation that supports unfettered economic and industrial growth?

What are the values that guide current environmental regulations in Canada?

How can we dismantle the current system to include Indigenous epistemological and ontological accounts of the land’s spiritual, emotional, and intellectual aspects?

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Decolonization and Justice: An Introductory Overview Copyright © 2022 by Kaitlyn Stadnyk is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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