Earth Day 2023: Youth Across Canada LEAD Change

Mi’kmaw Elder Albert D Marshall teaches us that we have a responsibility to take care of Mother Earth.  We are all connected. 

Alan Syliboy, an established Mi’kmaw artist states, “The whale spirit animal is the world’s record keeper for all time. As a totem, the whale teaches you to listen to your inner voice, understand the impact your emotions have on every day life and about following your own truth.” 

youthLEADarts artists Deirdre Potash, Shelley MacDonald and Roy Mulder have been inspiring students at Pierre Elliiott Trudeau Elementary School in Quebec this week to LISTEN to the stories of the Indigenous people of Canada and their understanding of our responsibility and place in the world, to EMPATHIZE with the predicament of the whales, to tap into their personal strengths, beliefs and abilities to ACT and effect change with their voices and to DRIVE a special mission forward, the mission to inform others about the plight of the whales and to find ways in which they themselves can act to protect them. They asked the questions, how do I impact the environment and how can I effect change where it is needed?

Shelley began by providing an Indigenous perspective regarding netukulimk which means protecting Mother Earth for the Ancestors and for present and future generations and sharing stories about Putup (Bu-doop) the Mi’kmaw word for whale.

Furthermore, with Roy, youth investigated the types of whales that swim the oceans and the difficulties they encounter. Then, through the arts they explored the world of science and technology and proposed explanations and solutions.

Next, with Deirdre, they engaged in appreciating works of art, traditional artistic objects, media images, personal productions, and those of classmates and were empowered to use information, creativity, and communications technologies to produce individual works and media works of art. 

The completed artworks and slogans that capture students’ concerns and intentions regarding whales, will be photographed and sent to shipping companies, cruise lines, and commercial fishers as a plea by the youth to affect positive change.