30 May Greetings from Regional Chief Adamek on the Mothers of the Land Gathering
Thank you Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society and Liard First Nation for hosting this essential gathering. As our entire planet experiences dramatic changes to the climate and environment, I am encouraged by your efforts to bring people together in thinking critically about their relationship with the land.
As Indigenous people know so very well, the land provides for us and guides us. Since time immemorial, it has provided us with the sustenance needed for survival and, more importantly, the foundations of our cultures, languages, and teachings. The land is not something we own – it is who we are. Guided by our leaders, our matriarchs, and our Elders, we were taught to honour this sacred connection, and always do what is best for the most important thing we were given – our lands.
Collectively, we are facing serious challenges to the future sustainability of the planet, and our traditional ways of life. We must go back to respecting and nurturing the connections we share with the land. The conversations we have today need to be broadened beyond environmental protection and economic development. First Nations people, and our traditional laws and practices, must be fully involved in decision-making that affects our lands, waters, and territories.
Over the next three days, as you discuss traditional practices around stewardship, land use, and ways we can all collaborate on these significant matters, I encourage you consider how vital it is to understand the past, and the teachings that have been passed down to us. This helps us understand where we need to go to realize the opportunities we have to protect our lands for future generations.
As co-chair of the AFN’s Advisory Committee on Climate Action and the Environment, I look forward to the opportunity to learn from all of you. We are committed to supporting the important dialogue and actions that will come out of this gathering.
Gunalchéesh and I look forward to visiting soon,
Interim Regional Chief Kluane Adamek
Assembly of First Nations – Yukon Region