Ontological and Ecological Change in Canadian Environmental Policy: Agency of the Other-Than Human, Settler Allyship, and the Centering of Indigenous Philosophies Through Attention to Anishinaabe Relationality

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Howe, Zephyr Sianna
This thesis addresses practical applications of indigenous ontologies to promote decolonial views of animal and plant agency regarding issues relating to Canada’s role in the climate crisis. As a Canadian settler scholar, this author aims to contribute to literature that challenges western logic systems and instead centers indigenous ontological theories of being which provide a framework with which to view the agency of the other-than-human without adhering to the ontological limitations of western philosophy. Specific materials examined focus on themes of: Anishnaabe ontology, indigenous water governance, indigenous land claims, moral obligations towards participating in the creation of decolonial futures, and the animacy and agency of the other-than-human. I add to this ongoing discussion that Canada has a moral obligation to approach the settler-caused climate crisis through a lens of indigenous ontology and logic systems, while striving for decolonial futures. Current approaches to issues of climate change are driven by a conceptualization of agency of the non-human dominated by colonial logic systems and philosophies; this is a failure of Canadian politics and academia to put in the sufficient effort to decolonize Canadian public policy. I argue that the only acceptable path for Canadian environmental politics is one which centers indigenous knowledge, and peoples, within Canada.
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