Board of Director at Large, Outdoor Council of Canada
A famous saying “As Long as The Sun Shines, The Grass Grows and The River Flows,” Chief Dan George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation north of Vancouver, British Columbia. This famous quote has been distilled in Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island.
Connection to this land goes beyond walking amongst the land, we are spiritually and materially connected. Most Indigenous peoples are taught from a young age, that if we take from mother earth, we always give something back and we only take what is needed. Now if everyone who walks the earth did the same, I think we would be living a different story today.
As a national organization, we at the Outdoor Council of Canada (OCC) understand that we work, play and live in the most beautiful diverse landscapes across Canada. Being exclusive to the communities that we work in, we also incorporate respect to the lands. Outdoor education to key to our organizational where we encourage the younger generation and all those that are leaders in the outdoor community.
What does protecting the forest actually mean? I look at the sweet science and diversity of our national resources, these elements are continually being extracted from mother earth. Understanding that she is exhausted and that we have a huge fight on our hands, when one natural resource is affected it affects the whole ecosystem. A word I recently heard “Collective Impact’ – my interpretation of this statement, it’s not up to one individual to make a difference. It begins with one person, group, organization, community, province, nation to be collective to make the greatest impacts. We as humankind are innovators and leaders in creating ways to become more sustainable and resourceful with the daily demands of our society. Do we need to be innovative or does innovation include bringing back the old traditional or simplistic way of living?
As the original peoples of the land, all the elements of the land were a gift. We acknowledge and give respect to all living things. What can we do in protecting the forests? How do we reduce impacts in our natural resource demand? As we have an unbalanced ecosystem worldwide, maybe it’s time to engage and be a leader or our domain. As Indigenous peoples fight to protect their homelands and sacred sites, maybe it’s time that we consider all of our land sacred and fight for her together as one.
This quote from an ancestors rings really true today and carries with it the teachings from our parents, grandparents and knowledge keepers.
It’s hard for me to understand a culture that not only hates and fights his brothers but even attacks Nature and abuses her. Man must love all creations or he will love none of it. Love is something you and I must have. We must have it because our spirit feeds upon it. Without love our self-esteem weakens. Without it our courage fails. Without love we can no longer look out confidently at the world. Instead we turn inwardly and begin to feed upon our own personalities and little by little we destroy ourselves.Chief Dan George
Love for our forest is created by spending time within it. That is why we believe the best way to protect honor and celebrate our unique Canadian forests is to bring as many people as possible outside and offer powerful experiences where they can create their own connection and understanding of the relationships between humans and the world.