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Title: Honouring water: remediating an anthropocentric worldview
Authors: Rios-Nadeau, Celina
Keywords: Water;self-governance;Anishnawbek;community;biofiltration;relations
Issue Date: 6-Apr-2020
Abstract: Lack of Potable Water in First Nations communities is often portrayed negatively in the media. Framed as a Water crisis, the responsibility and failure to provide safe Water for communities is solely placed on the federal government of Canada. While colonization and enforcing these mindsets play a large part in these issues, all people are accountable for what is happening to the Water. This exploration of Water in First Nations communities considers two worldviews: Anishnawbek and Western perspectives. Western understandings of Water include implications of governance, policy, and set infrastructure within First Nations communities that measure its success based on funding models and meet regulated standards. Through ending Water advisories in communities, a surface understanding of addressing Water protection is framed through human well-being, and how to prevent further damage to human health. This perspective is very problematic when considering Anishnawbek ways of being, that value relationships and interconnections with all living beings. Wateris life, it is a living entity, and has a spirit that must be respected and honoured. Views of Water need to be reframed through an understanding of how we can respect the Water that brings us life and sustains us. We must reclaim the relationship with Water, by reconnecting community involvement in Water processes and to Water itself. As a response to the current society, Indigenous women are reasserting their role as the voice that speaks for the Water. Through leaders such as Water Walkers, there is an awareness brought to seemingly transparent issues of Water pollution and neglect, by walking around bodies of Water such as the Great Lakes. Water Walks are acts of ceremony themselves, honouring Water through prayer, song, and offerings of tobacco at every waterway that is passed, showing thanks and respect for the Water. In order to value Anishnawbek ways of being and living, it is imperative to reassess existing political hierarchy in water governance and establish inclusive processes encompassing community voice, and the affected ecological factors of the land that is being impacted through substantial infrastructure intervention. To address the problem of Water, Water and wastewater infrastructure as they are understood presently, add large amounts of chemicals to the Water, which often results in dead Water without spirit, while undervaluing Anishnawbek perspectives and community involvement. Through an investigation of Water practices in other cultures, and case studies that address Water through phytoremediation systems, an integration of Anishnawbek concepts, meanings, and teachings can be reflected upon in a new understanding of the value of Water through architecture systems and design. In collaboration with the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation community, located near Sudbury, Ontario, the history of Water and community will be transcribed through story. Engaging with community Elders, Knowledge Carriers, and other public figures will help in understanding the strong connections with Water prior to Water facilities, as well as mapping a small part of the land. Through a proposed framework that considers both worldviews, a new understanding of Water and architecture can begin to amend the perceptions and current realities of Water purification in First Nations communities and restore relations to Water.
Appears in Collections:Architecture - Master's Theses
Master's Theses

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