For several years, we have been joining forces with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne in North America to advance the issues of environmental leadership and mobilization of the community – particularly indigenous youth – for water and environmental conservation activities.
Today, we are pleased to announce that this work is being recognized and rewarded with renewed funding from the Quebec government (Secrétariat à la jeunesse), which will allow us to continue our mobilization and advocacy efforts (Phase 2 – March 2021 – 2022).
Akwesasne faces significant political and environmental challenges – the community is located in the Quebec portion of the St. Lawrence River Basin and is landlocked between Ontario and the U.S. In addition to the challenges specific to indigenous communities in the Americas, this particular geographic and political dynamic requires an adapted approach. With this funding from the Quebec government’s Secrétariat à la jeunesse, we will be able to continue to work with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne to build the capacity of Akwesasronon youth in water and environmental conservation and to equip them to navigate the unique challenges and opportunities in their community.
Akwesasne youth involved
The main objective of this project is to build the leadership and mobilization capacity of Mohawk indigenous youth to carry out water and environmental conservation activities, which will include concrete field projects. Capacity-building workshops will be offered to the cohort of participants. Based on the principle of responsibility for the protection of the water resource and the environment, these workshops will strengthen the environmental leadership of these youth, enabling them to better participate in the environmental decision-making process affecting them and to defend their Indigenous rights and the human right to water.
A strong effort will also be made to mobilize and strengthen the Mohawk Youth Resource Protection Association. The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne will ensure the follow-up and implementation of the projects led by the Mohawk youth, as well as the facilitation of intergenerational meetings between the elders and leaders of the community and the youth participants.
These concrete action activities will also be supported by an awareness campaign, aimed at multiplying the impact of the project and reaching a wider audience in the community.
This project is part of a long-standing partnership with the Mohawk community of Akwesasne, which has been structured in 2019 with the launch of a new project that has secured funding from the Quebec government. We partnered with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne to build capacity in environmental governance and advocacy. In an intergenerational and traditional knowledge-sharing perspective, we seek to strengthen environmental policy through ongoing “cross-generational”, “cross-institutional” and “cross-border” dialogue. We aim to make the resources and experiences developed in this project available to other communities in Quebec and Canada.