[Sust-mar] TGI news: Cree examples of sustainability an age-old fix to modern problems

Laura Landon laura.landon at bellaliant.net
Mon Sep 2 16:14:30 EDT 2013

Text Box: www.thegreeninterview.com

September 3, 2013


Cree examples of sustainability an age-old fix to modern problems  


A Cree leader and author has radical lessons for anyone trying to quit an
oppressive, wage-based way of life, and for an industrial society that is
struggling to become sustainable. 


"A lot of us talk about sustainability, but Edmund Metatawabin has lived
it," says Green Interview host Silver Donald Cameron, who met Metatawabin in
Peetabeck, a Mushkego Cree community on the western shores of James Bay in
northern Ontario. 


The resulting Green Interview <http://www.thegreeninterview.com/>  covers an
enormous range of subjects, providing alternative views of work, the
economy, the nature of community, land ownership, and a community's
long-term values and its sense of time. Metatawabin also gives a candid and
horrifying account of his time in residential school, where he and so many
others experienced cruelty and life-altering abuse.   


"But now that we are out of there, now we have to recover everything. I've
really focused on this recovery myself by sitting with elders, talking to
them, and trying to remember where we were. What did we do? And what did we
make?" says Metatawabin, whose book Harvesting: Cree Hunting and Gathering
Techniques records traditional knowledge that was in danger of disappearing.
His novel Hanaway is a story of roots, resistance, and survival.


A former chief of the Peetabeck First Nation, Metatawabin grew up in the
completely sustainable forest society the Cree developed over millennia. He
graduated from Trent University in the 1970s, and went on to work as Trent's
Native Student Counsellor and as Native Affairs Advisor to the University of
Alberta. He was working on his master's degree in environmental studies when
his community asked him to return home to run for chief, a position he held
for eight years. Today, he is a community leader deeply committed to
education and Cree culture.


"Edmund's community embodied a whole different way of being human," says
Cameron. "We can't really replicate it-but its outlook and its core values
speak very eloquently to a world in deep distress. If we could find ways to
live by Mushkego values in the modern world, we'd take a huge stride towards

Cameron says when he met Edmund Metatawabin, he didn't intend to do an
interview-his producer, Chris Beckett, wasn't even present. "But when I
realized what an astonishing body of knowledge and wisdom Edmund was sharing
with me, I pulled out my own video camera and recorded this
<http://www.thegreeninterview.com/> Green Interview myself. I invite you to
listen to part of a two-day conversation that literally changed my life." 

The Green Interview is a subscription website of extended interviews
produced and directed by Chris Beckett in association with Silver Donald
Cameron. The programs feature some of the world's greatest thinkers, writers
and observers-people whose ideas and perceptions are leading the way to a
new era of sustainability. Visitors to the site can watch one interview free
of charge. In addition, the interviews are available in thousands of
libraries worldwide through GreenR <http://www.gale.cengage.com/greenr/> ,
the environmental database service of Gale Cengage Learning.

For further information about this interview or others at
www.thegreeninterview.com, please contact: Silver Donald Cameron, host and
executive producer, at sdc at silverdonaldcameron.ca or 902-446-5577.










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