Hey everyone!
Tomorrow is the big day here in Marrakech, Morocco. COP22 (Conference of Parties) starts and will be going on for 2 weeks until November 18. I’m beyond grateful to be here as a Canadian Youth Delegate with the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. I figured this would be a great opportunity for me to share with you all who are back at home doing amazing grassroots work around climate justice, what I’ll be doing here in Marrakech.

Growing up in Sagkeeng First Nation as an Anishinaabe woman, I never truly understood the full scope of how Indigenous people were being oppressed politically, socially, economically and environmentally. As I have spread my wings and taken flight on this journey of learning about the colonial history of Canada, I initially became engulfed with anger and rage. Over the years, I learned that I needed to shift that rage into something that was positive in order to make effective changes in the lives of Indigenous people and overall Canadians who are now jumping on the “reconciliation” wagon, and figuring out what Nation to Nation really means within the current colonial context.
This government, among many other colonial settler countries across the world, have a long history of continuously ignoring the health needs and inherent Aboriginal, Treaty and Human rights of Indigenous peoples, and consistently have acted in the guise of “salvation” and “civilization” because they are “saviors” and have all the “solutions” to “develop”. They have historically undermined Indigenous peoples’ relationship to the animals, lands and water, labelling Indigenous peoples as “primitive” and “savage” incapable of progress. Now the Canadian Government are slowly beginning to realize that Indigenous people were right all along, and that it is the Western world that needs to learn from Indigenous people to address climate change.

They had 500 years to learn, but are somewhat getting it now in the last hour of our global catastrophe of Climate Change. Better late than never at least optimistic, but we could have avoided this whole situation entirely if only they understood one fundamental thing of being a human being. No human owns anything in this world, not even ourselves. We owe our entire existence to Mother Earth, and are bound by Natural Law.
Capitalism has wrecked havoc all over the world because of the fundamental ideology that in order to get ahead in life, you must exploit to reap the most profits, so the more you exploit the more successful you are, which leads to uncontrollable power. Power is then used to control populations and determine the future of the global population based on the measurement of “development”. Developed countries then control the United Nations. This is backwards, colonial, and inhumane.

Due to this colonial context of the United Nations, I want to be very clear of its limitation of creating effective solutions regarding a Just Transition and adequately addressing Climate Change. I understand that these spaces are very oppressive and will dismiss what I believe to be a Just transition away from fossil fuels and meaningful address Climate Change in the time that is necessary. However, I refuse to be defeated by this system, but challenge all of its limitations in the optimistic hope that even colonial systems addressing climate change, can also be changed. I have to truly believe that in order for it to become a reality in my lifetime, and the clock is ticking faster than 500 years ago.

Therefore, I expect of myself and others to have meaningful dialogue on local, national and international issues regarding oil and gas usage by addressing energy over-consumption, and how government has the largest role in shifting the accessibility and affordability of community-owned renewable energy projects. I want to spark or support dialogue around how to shift global economies currently dependent of natural resource exploitation towards renewable energy and ecological preservation based economies that respect Indigenous peoples rights and relationship to the environment. I want to be able to have a full say in holding governments transparent and accountable to false solutions that have detrimental impacts to Indigenous communities. I want to do actions that spark internal and external dialogues around the legacy of capitalism and impacts of globalization within loss and damage to the environment and hold Canadian based companies accountable and responsible to those other countries. I want to build solidarity with other Indigenous people all over the world in the fight for justice in their communities, and push for the full ratification, adoption and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, because that is the only way that our voices become amplified in these international arenas. And of course, I want Catherine McKenna to hear my words that CLIMATE LEADERS DON’T BUILD PIPELINES and Canada MUST REJECT KINDER MORGAN, otherwise Canada is not reconciling with MOTHER EARTH!

These are the reasons why I am here and why I applied to be a Canadian Youth Delegate. I am a member of the Turtle Clan and it’s my inherent duty and responsibility to protect the waters of Turtle Island by sharing truth on the International stage, such as the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change Conference of Parties 22 in Marrakech, Morocco.

If you want to learn more about the Canadian Youth Delegation and are interested in updates on what our government is doing on the global stage, you can follow me on Twitter @sadiepaml, or sign up for the CYDaily newsletter http://www.ourclimate.ca/sign_up_for_daily_cop_22_updates where we will be posting all of our policies, actions, and communications.

Chi-Miigwetch, Ékosi, Mérci, Thank You!

Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie