Sustainable Future – Challenge Accepted! Climate Justice Ep. 4

How is Indigenous sovereignty and justice fundamental to climate change policy and action?

The fourth episode of the University of Toronto’s five-part video series, Sustainable Future - Challenge Accepted!, explores the climate justice work of Indigenous researchers at the university, the challenges they face and how they are leading change.

One way Indigenous communities learn about law is through the land, says John Borrows, professor in the Faculty of Law and inaugural Loveland Chair in Indigenous Law at U of T.

“When I take my students out in the land, they get an opportunity to experience the land directly and hear about the stories, the garments, the water, the birds and the insects,” he says.  

To enrich land-based learning, Liat Margolis, associate professor in the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, and Elder Whabagoon, an Ojibway Elder who is the First Peoples Leadership Advisor to the General Manager of Transportation Services for the City of Toronto and the Daniels Faculty’s former First Peoples Leadership Advisor to the Dean, co-founded the Nikibii Dawadinna Giigwag Youth Program at U of T.

The program provides Indigenous youth with employment, mentorship and pathways to post-secondary education in fields related to design and the environment.

Angela Mashford-Pringle, assistant professor with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and associate director of the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health, says when she teaches her students about land-based learning, she’s telling them about the beliefs of Indigenous health policy as well.

“[It’s] the balance between the spiritual, the emotional, the physical and the mental,” she says.

“That helps students to connect not only to the work, but then they can see how it connects to the world.”

Watch Episode 4 of the Sustainable Future series