The For Our Kids (FOK) Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (JEDI) committee hosted its first virtual book club event on May 28, an initiative to learn together about the interconnectedness of justice, equity and climate action.
Our first book was Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, exploring Indigenous knowledge, science and plants and animals as our teachers. It also has beautiful lessons on mothering which made it feel particularly relevant to FOK with our interest in how to raise children at this pivotal time in our planet’s history.
We had a great discussion about the book, how it made each of us feel, what it made us want to do, and provoked some interesting reflections. There were many points that came up that really made me think differently about what I’d read and how I live. In particular, we had a beautiful discussion about what it means to be a homeowner on stolen lands and how that relates to the concept of stewardship. I felt challenged by our discussion to think about my own little patch of land in Tiohti:áke / Mooniyang / Montreal, and how I manage my household. My relationship with our plot has changed now that I identify more as a steward than a property owner. Since then I’ve found myself pulling out the weeds with the loving care of a mother, asking the radish their permission before I pull them out the ground, and taking pride in discussing with others the differences between my very English looking vegetable patch and the three sisters garden I wish I was growing.
As a recent immigrant to Turtle Island, sometimes I feel incredibly ignorant in discussions about the history of so-called Canada, Indigenous Rights and Reconciliation. This book was helpful as a grounding in Indigenous knowledge, science and relationships with more than human animals. More than that though, the chance to discuss it in a supportive community helped me deepen my understanding of the work, and with that, its impact on me.
Thanks to everyone that took part in the event and sharing your insights below. I can’t wait to get together again for our next book club!
Insights shared by participants:
- PEOPLE CAN BE GOOD FOR THE EARTH!
- It’s so important to slow down to watch and regard the world and all its wonders; our kids are key facilitators for us to practice this.
- It’s such a gift to have a reciprocal relationship with the Earth.
- We talked a lot about the concepts of relationship, reciprocity, co-existence, stewardship and the impacts of colonization - both in the world and on our families. Viewing our relationship to the planet differently inspires all sorts of changes to our ways of living and being.
- We need to create time and space for feelings, realizations and reflections to emerge. We don’t need to be addicted to busyness.
- If we viewed the land as a gift and not property, ownership would become stewardship.
- Kimmerer is an amazing model for how to practice of co-existence - both with the living world and within different systems/worldviews.
- We can all practice co-existence, patience, thankfulness for all living beings
- Sometimes sharing stories over and over again can feel repetitive, but it’s an important spiral of learning; each time an opportunity to learn something new from the story.
- Parents bring important hope, patience and multigenerational thinking to the climate movement.
Sarah is a mother to two young kiddos and a researcher based in Tiotia:ke, the island known as Montreal.