I grew up near The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte – part of the Mohawk Nation within the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy.

My curiosity as to their culture led me to a different way of looking at nature then I encountered in my regular day to day schooling.

I grew up feeling that man was separate from nature and had control over the earth and the right to do as he wished with the earth based on the biblical scripture Genesis 1:26

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

The First People traditionally looked on nature as their mother; gave thanks for each and every thing they took from nature; taking only what they needed as you would from a mother or loved one. Rather than owning land they looked after it as you would a loved one.

At a festival I attended in Hamilton for 3 years in a row – Earthsong – I heard an aboriginal speaker say something to the extent of “We (indigenous peoples) lived on this land our mother earth for thousands of years before the Europeans came and the land that was stolen from us was pristine, pure and unpolluted. After just a few hundred years of occupying and controlling this land Europeans have polluted and abused almost all the natural resources they could get their hands on! Perhaps the earth would sing again if we were given back the land that was taken from us.”