I’m excited and proud to share that Joel Dragon Smith and Sean Myomi Hougan from Aurora Heat are now published authors! Working together at our sustainable Indigenous business, they have now co-authored an essay for the audio-book, Voices of Change: Twelve Visions for How to Solve the Climate Crisis published by Penguin Random House. Their segment explores the potential that Indigenous knowledge holds in influencing sustainable ways of being, spirituality and our mental health.
I feel more and more hopeful as people begin to look to Traditional Indigenous ways of living in harmony with all living things as a way to move forward. Our relationship with this planet needs to evolve like life depends on it because it does. When we care about our relationships with the Land and Mother Earth with the same love, respect and care that we give to our own mothers, great healing follows.
The twelve essays in Voices of Change are hopeful. Written by fifteen inspiring youth leading the climate change movement in Canada, the ideas, insights and experiences shared represent the collective consciousness of the next generation.
Joel and Sean’s essay, “It Begins With You” shares Indigenous wisdom on the interconnectedness of all living things. The earth, plants, animals, water and of course, our brothers and sisters that walk this earth. Here are my favourite excerpts from their essay:
More than ever, we need to evolve our ways of being, turn onto a new track and move forward guided by love, generosity, and connection. Collectively, our shared perspective must evolve and the only way to do this is to start with ourselves. We need to realize that change within ourselves is what changes the world. Everyone matters and everyone’s world is at stake. To create this change, we need our mental health. Without it, our personal struggles block us from seeing how this fundamental shift is possible. We're like a horse with blinders. Indigenous people understand that when the world is wounded, we mirror its pain. Indigenous peoples are the supreme knowledge holders when it comes to sustainability.
What if we looked to Indigenous Knowledge in regards to sustainability? We’d make decisions about how we live today, based on the impact these decisions will have seven generations into the future. Our family, our living relatives, 140 years from now will have clean water to drink, clean oceans to swim in, and healthy forests to play in. Without this, it won’t be possible for our lineages to thrive and live purposefully, in meaningful connection with the world around them.
With the understanding that everything is connected, caring for the environment means we are also caring for ourselves. For Indigenous people, overall well-being is holistic. The Indigenous way is not to view the mind in isolation. Instead, we can understand our mental health in relation to all things. Internally, this is the way one’s mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health are entwined together. Externally and simultaneously, this is how we think of ourselves in relation to our family, our work, our community, our nation and the Land. The external and internal elements in our lives are different but not separate.
To listen to the whole essay and the eleven other visions to solve our climate crisis, please consider purchasing the audiobook!