Friday, June 21, 2013

What we can Learn from Walpole Island First Nation

The Walpole Island First Nation experience is a living example for the wider world because they are a remarkably sustainable community. They  have managed to retain a very high level of biodiversity that includes many plant and animal species found nowhere else in Canada. The sustainability success story of Walpole Island First Nation has been achieved through their native philosophies and their traditional values and attitudes, which are based on respectful human and environmental interactions.

Walpole Island Indian Reserve is nestled between Ontario, Canada and Michigan, USA at the mouth of the St. Clair River. Occupied by aboriginal people for thousands of years, it is today home to 2,000 Ojibwa, Potawatomi and Ottawa. Having a common heritage they formed the Council of Three Fires--a political and cultural compact that has survived the test of time.

The people of Walpole Island view life in a spiritual, holistic and dynamic way, but they believe that sustainable development must be defined in practical terms They understand that as our ecosystem knows no political boundaries, neither should sustainable development. They know that we need an integrated approach to reconcile the environment with economic development.

Their environmental programs and ecosystems have earned international acclaim and World Heritage status.

Here is a short list of some of the things that can be learned from the Walpole Island First Nations people.

1. Relationship between people an the natural world (cannot be seperated)
2. Respect all aspects of the environment both locally and globally
3. Recognize that people are dependent on the physical environment
4. View of the land and water as sacred
5. Responsibility to future generations
6. Responsible use of resources
7. Preservation, conservation, and enhancement of the natural environment
8. Environmental quality = quality of life

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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