Dr. Dan Longboat – Roronhiakewen (He Clears the Sky) – is an Associate Professor in the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies, Director of the Indigenous Environmental Studies and Sciences Program and the Director of the Indigenous Environmental Institute at Trent University in Peterborough.
Dr. Longboat belongs to the Turtle Clan of the Mohawk Nation and is a citizen of the Haudenosaunee, originally from Ohsweken the Six Nations community on the Grand River Territory.
Dr. Longboat earned a Bachelors Degree from Trent University in Native Studies with a special interest in Human Psychology. He received a Masters Degree in Environmental Studies and a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from York University.
Dr. Longboat is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Indigenous Studies and is the Founding Director of the Indigenous Environmental Studies and Sciences Program (IESS) at Trent University and the current Director of the newly formed Indigenous Environmental Institute (IEI). The IESS program is the first and only accredited university level program for Indigenous Environmental Studies and Sciences in North America. The Program is founded upon Indigenous Knowledge(s), which serves to support research and development of culturally based courses and integrated environmental science programs. The Program focuses upon Indigenous Peoples: health and the environment, traditional foods and medicines, natural resource restoration, community sustainability, international Indigenous networks, Indigenous languages, cultures and the recognition of Treaty Rights, cultural practices and traditional life ways.
Learn more about the Program at https://www.trentu.ca/iess.
At a recent conference, noted Anishinaabe Scholar and Traditional Knowledge holder Jim Dumont (Onaubinisay) asked the question “Have we lost our Indigenous Mind?” Arguably it appears that we have, as the premise of being Indigenous is a connection to and responsibility for living well and caring for place.
Today, and I hope we can all agree, that at no other time in human history have we had to face the complexity of environmental issues that we currently face. You are aware of the Anthropocene and its associated degradation and destruction of both humans and the environment, all under the umbrella of global climate change, this is our legacy to future generations. While it is growing easier to blame human beings for this imminent ecological collapse, not all humans are to blame for the growing environmental and ecological catastrophe we collectively find ourselves in.
In the world today, there remain small nations of Indigenous peoples who still hold on to their traditional cultures and unique ways of life. Indigenous ways of life that work to sustain, strengthen and perpetuate the ecological integrity of the regions that they have lived in for millennia have something to teach global society at large.
It is through the recognition and the respectful creation of space for Indigenous voices to share and teach a (k)new relationship to the Earth including land, air, water and biological life that can serve to develop a re-connection with the Natural world. Without proper thinking, all of the data and information alone will not facilitate the positive environmental change necessary to sustain the continuation of Life. This re-connection is our greatest collective challenge and our greatest opportunity for our continued future.