The Indigenous Perspective

If you’ve read my book The 5Cs: How to Survive and Thrive in the Next Few Decades, you’ll recall that I suggest we include at least one Indigenous person on any study, task force, or project about Land, Air, or Sea.  

WHAT? You haven’t read my book? Reach out to me, and let’s rectify that!  

Between you and me, that decision was based solely on my intuition. I had no facts, history, or evidence that it was a good idea. It just felt good to me.  

This week begins a brand-new series on the 5Cs podcast.   My guest is a member of the Algonquin tribe and a lawyer with a deep understanding of Indigenous rights and history. She’s dedicated to educating the country about Indigenous people and plays a critical role in social activism and justice.   While this series has a distinctly Canadian flavour, the issues we discuss are not confined to Canada.

They resonate worldwide because every human can trace their lineage from either a family of initial inhabitants, a family of settlers, or a family of immigrants.  Indigenous people form the initial inhabitants of every country worldwide, regardless of the education we were or were not taught. This global perspective is what makes this series so compelling and relevant.  

At the end of our interview, I asked my guest what advice she would give to ‘the white man’ about what we might learn from the Indigenous way of life to better use the resources here on Planet Earth. She gave these five super easy, brilliantly simple ideas.

  • Before beginning to study any part of the land, the birds, the animals, the plants or the fish, FIRST have a conversation with those who live in the area.
  • Trust that the answers you receive are, in fact, the truth.
  • Understand that the Indigenous do not own the land. (This is a massive awakening for so many of us.) -Without the trappings of ownership, the Indigenous see themselves as stewards of the land. The key to good land stewardship is to ensure that the basic building blocks for healthy ecosystems are taken care of.
  • Every action we take impacts many—some of whom we see and so many more of whom we don’t see. Understand your impact on the entirety of your world.

Please consider listening to this series. She uncovers much history most of us have never learned, from the arrival of settlers in the 16th century to the most recent residential school debacle.

We also discuss the government’s funds for the various tribes and the ongoing struggles for Indigenous rights. Throughout it all, she provides a very balanced and even perspective.  

I’ll leave it to you to determine if my intuition was correct.