Challenges to Connection- Changes in the land and in ways of life in Kaska Dena territory

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 12 April, 2012 - 23:40 to Friday, 13 April, 2012 - 00:00
JOHNSON, Leslie Main - Athabasca University
Linda McDonald - Kaska Nation

The relationship to land is crucial for the well being of Kaska people. To maintain connection to the land, skills and language are both needed. Much knowledge about the land and how to live well on the land and with other beings of the land is encoded in language. When transmission of language is disrupted, the philosophy and cosmology of the Kaska way of life become difficult to carry on, and this impacts the ability of younger generations to live on and with the land. When people are cut off from the land, physical, social and spiritual health suffer. Changes in residence patterns and changes in the land itself contribute to the difficulty of maintaining connection and health. Some change is a result of climate change, while other impacts are caused by industrial activities such as mining, which may compromise waterways, contaminate traditional foods, change animal behaviour, and contribute to social problems.