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
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.