Photo by: Amber Desnomie taken at Peepeekisis
“Everything has life” – Cindy Desnomie talks about climate change
Exploiting sacred resources leads to environmental breakdown, says First Nations woman
Climate change is happening rapidly due to the mistreatment of the Earth for natural resources, minerals and money, according to First Nations mom and kokum Cindy Desnomie
By Amber Desnomie
Cindy Desnomie has been interested in climate change since she was young, but would not call herself an extreme activist. But working with children, being a mom and a kokum has made her think of what is going to be left for them when she is gone.
“I am First Nations so I think majority of them are activists anyway, in their own way,” says Desnomie.
The Earth is a sacred place that has many natural sources that are not meant to be exploited or even touched. Yet in the past 30 years humans have consumed a third of the Earth’s natural resources.
“Everything works together, that’s why our Elders say everything is connected, everything has life,” Desmonie says.
One of her concerns is that companies exploit minerals and water meant for drinking, which is a scarce and precious resource. Seventy per cent of the planet is covered in water, but only 2.5 per cent is clean drinking water.
Fresh water is comprised of 68.9 per cent in the forms of glaciers and snow cover, 30.8 per cent is ground water and about 0.3 per cent is in lakes and rivers. When big companies dig for minerals, oil, or other resources, they use millions of gallons of fresh water to get the minerals they are seeking. That is our drinking water, explains Desnomie.
“I’m hoping the Earth isn’t drying up from the inside out. You see all the slough and water along the road are all dried out,” Desmonie says.
The decisionmakers and politicians create exclusion clauses in their policies and law, which help corporations with their development to justify land and environmental destruction.
The Earth is being used for all of its natural resources, which is seen as sacred by First Nations, who see it as something that we (humans) were not to touch. All the corruption to the Earth is causing the climate to change rapidly and is speeding up global warming.
“The Elders said you never touch those minerals.” – Cindy Desnomie
“They’re breaking down the natural resources of the land. That’s why there are floods, the land can’t hold up the like it used to be. People (are) adjusting waterways and tearing down forests, re-distributing water ways by using dams,” Desnomie says.
“The Earth is starting to feel unsafe due to all the abuse that is happening to its resources, even the animals are feeling that way. My father said the horses are even too scared to drink the lake waters. During a ceremony in the summer, they tried to take them to the beach to rehydrate but they did not even want to drink it at all,” says Desnomie.
She explains that the Earth’s resources build up very slowly because we’re not supposed to take more than we needed, it’s supposed to be as much as we need to survive. The companies take all the natural resources they can, that means that the Earth can’t grow the natural resources as fast.
Because the Earth is not getting enough time to build up the resources, global warming is speeding up.
“The Elders said you never to touch those minerals, they’re evil. You release something back into the world when you bother them. The stories from long ago said this,” Desnomie shares.
She believes mining for minerals is the reason that we’re dealing with climate change because they are not supposed to be touched. The pipeline is said to be the snake that destroys life and that is why many First Nations people are against it.
First Nations knew that the pipelines would be dangerous to the Earth and because they knew it was not a matter of if, but when the pipelines would break and pollute the world more.
While pipelines bring more jobs, people never think of how that’s going to affect the Earth in the future.
Desnomie recalls that when she was a kid, the world was very beautiful and felt safe because the Earth just felt healthier. Everyone, animal and plant just looked healthier and the atmosphere did not feel as it does today, she says.
People were hunters back in the day and ate what they hunted; nowadays people have to be wary and check their meat to make sure it’s safe.
Desnomie says she hopes for the climate change will be reduced for the future generations, and that the Earth can be saved from global warming.
I’m Amber Desnomie. A university student at the First Nations University, I am currently in my 3rd year of the INCA program.