Evolving Today’s Climate Change Approach with Kwaday Dän K’e (Long Ago People’s Way)
Jocelyn Joe-Strack is a Champagne and Aishihik First Nations scientist. During February 2019, she embarked on a speaking tour of Canadian embassies in Europe to sharing her Indigenous perspective on Climate Change with senior diplomats, academics, youth and the public. She is a 2012 Alumna of the Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship program.
Ayinji Daqualama uye. My name is White Mother – Jocelyn Joe-Strack. My father is Willie Joe of Chu’ena – Singing Waters – Hutchi, Yukon. His parents are Chief Hutchi Joe of Chu’ena and Sadie Stevens of Äshèyi-Aishihik, Yukon. My mother is Jane Strack of Vancouver, British Columbia. Her parents are F. Strack of Saskatchewan and Gladys Banfield of New Brighton, England.
I am a member of the self-governing Champagne and Aishihik First Nation of Northwestern Canada’s Yukon Territory. We introduce ourselves by sharing who our Grandparents were so one can have a better sense of our experience.
My home is under the largest non-polar icefields in the world and we have lived here since time immemorial.
I am a trained microbiologist and hydrologist. I have worked in research, policy and governance. I am a mother. Everyday, I explore the big questions of how to revitalize the strengths of humanity as a means to safeguard Earth for the generations to come.
Because of my many roles, I have been invited by the Canadian Embassies to Spain, Sweden, Germany and France to share my understanding of the Indigenous perspective of climate change. For the month of February, I will travel in Europe with my husband, Scott, three-year old Lyla Jane and baby Eleanor Mbay. Beyond sharing my knowledge, I will also deepen and broaden my philosophy of how we can best live in harmony with Earth.
The world is overwhelmed by the urgency of how to confront climate change. Society is worried, determined, angry and uncertain about what our future holds. We turn to science and politicians; we listen to strong voices to seek solutions and ensure the survival of our civilization.
We also look to the world’s Indigenous people. It is recognized that the original people remember harmony with Earth. When the land is in their care, harmony often endures and the land remains healthy.
I come from a people who remember how to live and flow in harmony with an ever-changing land. Our climate and homeland has always shifted and changed. For our ancestors, that was a truth not a threat. Today though, we have created jeopardy because we have forgotten how to be resilient.
The stories of my people reflect the strength of our resilience as we overcame constant change: We recall the giant animals of the Ice Age; only a century ago, our Village was under a massive lake; my Grandparents walked through grasslands; my Father rode afraid in a truck box to a residential school; and I listen to the stories of my leaders as they fought for the sovereignty we celebrate today.
Yukon First Nations are recognized global leaders in the Indigenous movement to overcome great trauma in our journey to self-determination. Today we have self-government and are now working to evolve our role in modern society. We seek self-reliance.
I was raised by leaders to be a leader. While in Europe, I aim to call on my ancestors’ lessons to invoke the best of all people in an effort to rebalance our society and in turn safeguard our great Earth. I will share my journey as I explore big ideas in pursuit of humanity’s resilience.
Jocelyn Joe-Strack is a Champagne and Aishihik First Nations scientist. She is a 2012 Alumna of the Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship program.
Over the next four weeks she is embarking on a speaking tour of Canadian embassies in Europe to share her Indigenous perspective on climate change with senior diplomats, academics, youth and the public. You can follow her travels her, on Twitter @GlasscoFellows or @jocelynjs or by subscribing to The Gordon Foundation newsletter for updates.