Recentering Indigenous youth voices in climate action & reconciliation
What is Land(ing) Back? Land(ing) Back is a five-part audio blog series presented in collaboration with Youth Climate Lab and 4Rs Youth Movement. Released over five weeks, each episode features a conversation with an Indigenous young person making change within their community through climate work.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF LAND(ING) BACK?
The conversations and lessons of Land(ing) Back will inform a policy document highlighting key issues around Indigenous youth, a just transition of the economy, and climate change in Canada. We invite folks to listen with curiosity and the desire to learn from these voices, allowing ourselves to move and connect with them as they share their perspectives and realizations about what is needed to care for the land that Indigenous peoples have called home for generations.
Land(ing) Back is a call to pay attention to the voices and perspectives of young people, to be challenged and inspired by their community-based work and to transform our approaches to create a healthier ecosystem for their worldbuilding work.
WHO ARE THE HOSTS?
Dani is Anishinaabekwe from Neyaashiinigmiing Anishinaabekiing and Algonquins of Barriere Lake. She is currently the Communications and Community Care Manager at 4Rs Youth Movement and an undergraduate student at the University of Ottawa where she studies Indigenous Studies and History.
Naia is an organizer, facilitator, and student. Drawn to climate work by visions of a more just world, she spends her time cultivating shared purpose, deep relationship, and strategic rigour in a cohort of movement builders. Naia has worked as Communications Coordinator with Youth Climate Lab and is currently studying in McMaster University’s Arts & Science program. She enjoys climbing trees and you can often find her engaging with stories.
Shalaka is the Design & Community Manager at Youth Climate Lab. They spent their childhood between cities in India and Dubai before moving to a neighbourhood spitting distance from Ontario’s largest mall. Trained as an urban planner, Shalaka is pursuing Curatorial Practices at the University of Winnipeg, and is the 2021 Curator-in-Residence at the Centre for Art Tapes. As Shalaka explores and builds on their curatorial ethic, they see it guided by a walking methodology, carrying forward the work of their ancestors in tending for the land, and woven together by conversations over cups of tea.
WHO ARE THE GUESTS?
Through this series, we’re joined by Kyla Pascal, Kakekà Thundersky, Nika Silverfox, Gabe Calderon and Riley Yesno. Each guest shares their own experiences and journeys through climate work and community organizing.
Kyla Pascal is a Métis, Black woman born and raised in Amiskwaciwâskahikan ᐊᒥᐢᑲᐧᒋᐋᐧᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ (Edmonton, Alberta). Her experiences and interests are centred around Indigenous solidarity, sustainability, community health, and food justice. The goal of her work is to build more resilient, just, and healthier communities. She currently works at Alderhill Planning Inc., is a member of the Indigenous art collective, nipahimiw, and is a second-year Master of Planning candidate with the School of Community and Regional Planning at UBC. In this audio blog, Kyla talks with Shalaka (YCL Design & Community Manager) about her entry point into climate work through food and land justice work, and how climate spaces need to be actively integrating care work.
Kakekà ThunderSky (she/her) is a member of the Poplar River First Nation, currently living in Winnipeg. She is a land defender and she has a four-month-old baby girl named Tokala Wači Wiŋ. In this audio blog, Kakeka talks with Naia (YCL Communications Coordinator) about her journey to organizing spaces, and her experiences building community with other land defenders and water protectors.
Born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon, and identifying as a Northern Tutchone woman, Nika is a 26-year-old member of Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation and a part of the Wolf Clan. Nika is working towards a degree in Northern Conservation and Environmental Sciences at the Yukon University and is very passionate about the conservation of Yukon River salmon species. Her dream job would be to work with her First Nations working towards salmon conservation and preservation and to bring awareness about climate change in the North. Nika talks with Shalaka (YCL Design & Community Manager) about the illuminating worldviews that spiritual connection work brings to Western approaches to climate change, and the interconnectedness between food, land, housing justice.
Gabe Calderón (they/them) is a nij-manidowag (two spirit) ihkwew (all-gender/transgender) Omamiwinini (Algonquin) and L’nu (Mi’kmaq) and mixed white (Scottish/French) author, poet, artist and educator. In this audio blog, Gabe talks with Naia (YCL Communications Coordinator) about who gets to see themselves in “activism,” and why everyone has a stake in collective liberation.
Riley Yesno (she/her) is a queer Anishinaabe writer, researcher, and public speaker from Eabametoong First Nation. Riley grew up primarily in Thunder Bay, ON and currently calls Toronto, ON, and St. John’s, NL, home. She has experience working at all levels of change-making, has travelled the world public speaking, has been published in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Maclean’s, and many others. She is currently a Canadian Journalism Foundation Fellow, a Yellowhead Institute Research Fellow, a Massey College Junior Fellow and is beginning her Ph.D. at the University of Toronto. In this audio blog, Riley talks with Shalaka (YCL Design & Community Manager) about the diverse roles needed in building sustained and nourishing movement work.
WHO ARE THE ARTISTS?
ALANAH JEWELL — MORNING STAR DESIGNS
Alanah Astehtsi Otsistohkwa (Morningstar) Jewell (she/her) is a mixed French-First Nations artist from Oneida Nation of the Thames, who currently lives in Kitchener, Ontario. Alanah decided to pursue art as a hobby in 2019, and soon after, illustration and painting became her life’s work. Through her work, she has been able to connect with other Indigenous creators, participate in community, and express culture, love and connection, while promoting Indigenous art and culture in urban areas. You can follow Alannah on Instagram @Morning.Star.Designs to see her amazing artwork, including the original illustration, “Our First Mother” which inspired the design & logo for Land(ing) Back.
ZOEY “PRICELYS” ROY
Zoey “Pricelys” Roy is a Nehiyaw-Dené Métis poet, creative director, educator, researcher, and activist from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Zoey uses poetry as therapy and her work often synthesizes the kaleidoscope of mirrors she sees around her. Land(ing) Back features the song “Let’s Go” off Zoey’s latest EP, ‘MADE UP’ which was produced by Omar “Obeatz” Ballantyne. “Let’s Go” is a call for collective forgiveness and self-love. It is easy for the oppressed to become the oppressor; for the social constructions prescribed to people to become internalized by the people they are prescribed to. This song emulates the re-awakening that is happening for people who are of this land in Turtle Island. You can follow Zoey on Instagram @Pricelys and on Twitter @TheRealZoeyRoy to keep up with her future projects!
Who made Land(ing) Back possible?
We would like to extend our gratitude to everyone who helped make Land(ing) Back a reality.
This includes the land, the earth, our mother, and all our relatives who we share these lands with: from the animals, to the plants, down to the microbes and mycelium that seek to bring balance to our co-existence. Thanks to our hosts Shalaka and Naia from YCL for hosting each conversation, and Dani, from 4Rs for bringing us into each episode. We say chi miigwech to our guests Kyla, Kakekà, Nika, Gabe and Riley for taking the time to chat with us and share your stories and experiences within the ecosystem of climate work. We send our love to the artists: Alannah for the use of her image “Our First Mother”, and Zoey and Omar for their song “Let’s Go”. To Dom, Rachel and Katelynne from YCL, and Jess from 4Rs for all the behind-the-scenes work that helped to make this project possible from start to finish. To the team at MediaStyle: Daniel, Andrea, Elio and Meaghan, thanks for your patience and all your help pulling together the visuals, shareables and website, so we could serve some looks online. And finally, we want to acknowledge the funding from the Government of Canada’s Canada Service Corps and Commemorate Canada programs, which enabled us to resource this project. While it isn’t exactly reparations, we’ll take what we can get until they start giving land back.