Parkland Fall Conference 2021
This conference took place November 19-21, 2021
begin template: parklandconference/pages-show-basic

Why we should all be activists: What Haudenosaunee philosophy can teach us about our responsibility to the Earth

Sunday session • Nov 21, 2:30–3:45 PM

Why we should all be activists: What Haudenosaunee philosophy can teach us about our responsibility to the Earth

with Alicia Elliott

It seems that every week another scientific study comes out telling us climate change apocalypse is imminent. Latest estimates put us at 2050 – a short 30 years from now. But to look at the decisions Canadian politicians are making on behalf of the entire country, you wouldn’t be able to tell. In this talk, Alicia Elliott leads us through the history of Haudenosaunee philosophy and literature to examine the nature of activism, and who is considered dangerous “activists” in a post-Oka, post-Caledonia Canada. How is an Indigenous person’s free speech impacted when practicing their culture, when merely existing is considered an impediment to national “progress?” From there, Elliott examines what the role of a government actually is. In our post-capitalist society, is government’s responsibility to the people it governs, or is it to capital? What do we lose by allowing one over the other? And what would happen if we all decided that a person’s responsibility isn’t only to themselves and their families, or even to the government of Canada, but also to the Earth upon which all of us depend? Maybe the time has come, Elliott argues, for all of us to be activists.

Alicia Elliott is a Mohawk writer living in Brantford, Ontario. She has written for The Globe and Mail, CBC, Hazlitt and many others. She was chosen by Tanya Talaga as the 2018 recipient of the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award. Her first book, A Mind Spread Out On The Ground, is a national bestseller. Read more

Alicia Elliot's talk is sponsored by the Canadian Literature Centre and SKIPP.