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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Aamjiwnaang First Nation, Canada

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Aamjiwnaang First Nation, Canada
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nessa5067



Registered: June 2013
City/Town/Province: Sarnia
Posts: 1
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My hometown Aamjiwnaang First Nations reservation has been named the most toxic site in North America by National Geographic society in 2007. I was born and raised in Canada’s Chemical Valley. I grew up with oil company’s refineries surrounding my family and community. I have experienced health impacts because of the highly polluted air including highly sensitive skin and respiratory issues. My life has been impacted by losing family members and loved ones to illnesses such as Cancer. Not only are there health effects from living so close to 63 high emitting facilities but fear of being in immediate danger is what my community faces. These plants have accidents, spills and releases frequently and high amounts of sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, toluene, benzene, styrene, mercury, lead, nickel, and etcetera are found in the air we breath.



My work started with the youth in my community. When I was 18, I was hired to assist in a women's reproductive health study. My job was to assist setting up interviews and to organize with First Nations youth in the community. I sat in on interviews with women who experienced pregnancy in our highly polluted community. Once I started Aamjiwnaang Green Teens, we started our Photovoice project. The project’s purpose was collectively show our everyday life in a highly polluted environment. Our group focused on environmental activities and creatively expressing unhealthy emotions towards the industry destroying our land.



My knowledge of the environment expanded when I went to see the Alberta’s Tar Sands for myself in August 2012 in Fort Mcmurray. I was apart of the 3rd Annual Healing Walk event with the Athabasca First Nation community members and allies. We walked for 14 Kilometers through a Suncor site and I was in shock. The similarities in this community and Aamjiwnaang were unforgettable. I began researching the process of the extraction of Bitumin and how far the Canadian government is willing to go for profits over our natural resources. With the extraction happening in the Athabasca First Nations community and the refining happening in my community, I felt a responsibility to bring the knowledge home.



To bring the knowledge I have to the Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia area, I took my message publicly (local newspapers, radio stations, etc). I organized information events for community members to come learn and ask questions. In early fall 2012, I was apart of a grassroots speaking tour called She Speaks. She Speaks is a group of First Nations woman speaking about how the Tar Sands are affecting communities on the front line and what actions we are taking against environmental destruction. The tour stopped in Toronto, Sarnia and Brantford.



I put more focus on the youth because I believe youth are the future and have a lot of responsibility. I organized a group of First Nations youth from the Aamjiwnaang and surrounding community to participate in Powershift 2012 in Ottawa. PowerShift is also dependent on grassroots organization. PS 2012 gathered young people from across the country to build on this momentum and strengthen the movement for climate and environmental justice.



To bring attention to the current issue of Line 9, bringing Tar Sands oil to Ontario, I brought a new group together called ASAP (Aamjiwnaang + Sarnia Against Pipelines). ASAP focuses on building community awareness and taking action for the health and safety of our community. We worked together for the first walking Toxic Tour of Canada’s Chemical Valley that happened on March 15th. The goal of our action was to expose Chemical Valley and to bring attention to Enbridge’s Line 9.


I have a great concern for environmental protection regulations in Canada. My work with Idle No More has brought this to the attention to media and the world. I have continued to speak at public events to bring awareness of environmental racism happening in Canada and I have experienced in my own backyard.
Date: June 20, 2013 Views: 5272 File size: 12.4kb, 823.9kb : 3456 x 1842
Hours Volunteered: 50
Volunteers: 10
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 18 to 35
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 4
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): 4.5
Native Trees Planted: 30
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