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Indigenous climate change conference in Kamloops attracts notable attendee

A poster for the event.
Image Credit: Submitted/Nicoe Schabus
February 10, 2016 - 2:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - Indigenous issues and climate change will be at the forefront of a discussion at an upcoming conference held at Thompson Rivers University, and those topics have enticed author and activist Naomi Klein to attend.

Former Neskonlith Indian Band chief and author Arthur Manuel is helping organize the event and has invited Klein to attend as part of the discussion. While Klein is on a speaking tour promoting her latest book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, her attendance will not be as a speaker for the event, but as a participant in a wider discussion involving climate change activists and people from interior First Nations.

Klein wrote the forward to Manuel’s book Unsettling Canada and the two have known each other for some time.

“Naomi and I, we know each other from different issues,” Manuel says. “We met when I was a chief on the reserve fighting an expansion of Sun Peaks.”

At the Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change the focus won’t be on Klein though, and she won’t be attending the entire event because she has a speaking engagement in Kelowna. Manuel says it’s about more conversation with the people and she doesn’t want to make a speech.

“One of the things I’d like to see emanate from this is for indigenous people to organize around climate change,” Manuel says. “People who are hunting or fishing or gathering berries off the land.”

He says that while mainstream climate change groups are trying to work with chiefs and councils, the chiefs and councils are busy with a variety of issues. Instead he wants a grassroots discussion to occur in the indigenous community about issues like the Site C dam, Kinder Morgan’s pipeline or the proposed Ajax Mine, without relying on chiefs and council.

He says Klein will be there to listen, learn and talk about these issues on a larger scale.

“She talks about native issues globally,” he says. “She focuses on North America and what indigenous people are doing in regards to climate change.”

The Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change event will be happening Feb. 17 and 18 at the Irving K. Barber Centre at Thompson Rivers University. Manuel says he’s reaching out to indigenous people to attend and talk at a group level about the effects climate change has on them.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin at bkergin@infonews.ca or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
InfoTel News Ltd

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