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“Strong Like Two People”:
A photographer’s ode to First Nations’
special relationship with the land in Canada’s North
An environmental movement is stirring in indigenous communities across North America. The moniker ‘water protector’ came from the protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), and the DAPL story is a powerful example of activism in the face of environmental racism. But environmental activism is often much more subtle than the headlines let on.
In Canada’s North, indigenous youth are stepping into leadership roles and families are recognizing the importance of relearning traditional activities not only as a form of conservation, but also as a way to preserve their culture in a time where Western values and technology are influencing these communities more than ever.
In the Northwest Territories, youth are encouraged by the words of Tlicho Chief Jimmy Bruneau, who in 1936, set out a vision to accept the worldview of the white man but to never lose the skills, teachings and traditions of the Dene. His words later interpreted to mean, “strong like two people”.