The 1876 Indian Act and other federal laws have deliberately prevented us from exercising stewardship in all aspects of our life and severely compromised our ability to respond to Climate Change. Financing and caring for our homes and our families can take up an inordinate amount of time, especially when attempting to secure financial loans through the everyday financial institutions while jumping through the legal hoops put in front of us as legal “Wards” of the government. In this research I did interviews with the village residents of Skidegate, Haida Gwaii and asked; 1. What can we do to lower our carbon footprint? 2. How can we build and finance homes that are healthy and safe in light of climate change? 3. How can we use our ancient laws to empower our people and nation to uphold our values of respect, reciprocity, consensus and stewardship to create a safe planet for present and future generations? Workshop participants identified the need for more education on climate change impacts, financial planning, budgeting and alternative financing options. They also reported diverse ways of reducing fossil fuels such as using alternative energy sources and greener transportation, and accessing local value-added building materials. Respondents identified the need for improved access to financing for climate ready homes, qualified local building inspectors, and the reinvigoration of ancestral laws. Colonization is discussed throughout this research due to the impacts it has had and continues to have on our life ways. Collective financing using a “Common Bowl ” concept could be used through innovative clan reciprocity. Sharing, a local cooperative lending or a Grameen Bank concept along with the removal of the Indian Act and revitalization of ancient laws to live respectfully on the earth would offer independence and control for our nation and other nations individually. Currently, Indigenous communities are facing ongoing colonization while attempting to address the impacts of climate change. Re-infusing our kil yahdas and kuuya is important to rebuild and maintain healthy and resilient communities and strong governance in hopes of reducing the impacts of climate change.
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Thesis advisor: Zandvliet, David Bryan
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