The International Fund for Animal Welfare has a campaign called the Northern Dogs Project. On the face of it, the program is straightforward: assist remote First Nations communities in Quebec and Canada to live with dogs in a positive way and manage populations humanely. But it’s a lot more than that – and it has less to do with dogs than you may think.
Jan Hannah, manager of the Northern Dogs Project, joined Defender Radio to discuss the project, the history of working with Cree and Anishinaabe communities, and why it matters that as advocates we focus on listening.
Note from host Michael Howie: Before we get to the interview, I want to acknowledge how sensitive a subject this is. Colonialism and intergenerational trauma are subjects I don’t have a firm grasp on as I have not studied or researched extensively in this area, nor had the opportunity to be immersed in this culture. I do understand that they impact the lives of First Nations, Metis and Inuit people and society significantly. The reason I wanted to do this episode is because it’s a subject that we as animal advocates and compassionate individuals must try to learn more about. I believe that IFAW’s method of working with communities through listening is a concept we can all learn from.
I believe we all can have a positive impact on the people around us, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or history, so long as we move forward with compassion and respect, and accept responsibility for the errors we have made, and those that we continue to make. And if this is a subject of interest to you, I recommend that you visit the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada website or visit your local library to learn more about colonialism, intergenerational trauma, and the cultures and history of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people of this land. I'll be doing that myself.
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