Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children." ~Ancient Indian Proverb
"Healthy Homes" was the theme for Aki Giizhigad (Earth Day) events at Red Lake on Thursday, April 25, 2013. All events were held at the Seven Clans Casino Event Center, Red Lake. The day began with an opening address and lunch at 11:30 a.m. and concluded at 3:30 p.m.
Earth Day was officially April 22, but due to that date conflicting with other activities, it was decided to celebrate on April 25.
“We are enthusiastic about the event and were pleased to have a good turnout from the community and programs," said organizer Cody Charwood.
Learning about arsenic in drinking water and radon in our homes were among the many presentations held throughout the day. Participants could also visit the many booths on healthy habits, natural resources, healthy homes, lifestyle choices, energy conversation, and more.
Upon arriving at the Seven Clans, the first thing one saw were activities outside the building. The first was a “tire pressure check." Proper tire inflation can improve gas mileage. The first several drivers got a free tire pressure gauge.
Next came a truck and trailer collecting hazardous household waste. The collection drop off, sponsored by the Red Lake DNR, gathered household waste items for proper disposal. It is paramount that these types of waste need to be properly disposed of, not dropped off in a dump for example.
Moved from outside to inside this year was the plastic bag recycling exchange booth, although the message was the same. Used plastic bags were gathered to be recycled so as to eliminate their disposal in trash. In return persons received a reusable grocery bag to use in recycling efforts. Several business places donated canvas bags to give in return for the plastic bags. The booth was sponsored by the Red Lake DNR and Fire Prevention.
Opening Ceremony and Blessing
Spiritual Elder Larry Stillday provided a prayer at the beginning of a program. He then gave a short talk about Ojibwe tradition - in regard to and respect for - Mother Earth and the environment. “The world may yet realize the ancient American Indian environmental ethic,” said Stillday, “this is important, it begins with us, and we must share this ethic.
Stillday was followed by Red Lake DNR Director and Redby Representative to the Tribal Council Al Pemberton. “Hundreds of Red Lakers are participating in Earth Day activities,” said Pemberton. "I'm quite pleased at how the event has been received and grown. We have a responsibility as Indians and as cultural stewards of the land to do better," he concluded.
Event Center: Upon entering the Event Center, attendees signed in and then received a "Healthy Homes" Aki Giizhigad (Earth Day) t-shirt, and a bag. The logo used is not unlike a medicine wheel with “reduce, reuse, recycle, renew”, representing the the four directions as feet of a mikinaak (turtle), and even included the sky and earth if one included mikinaak’s head and tail. The design also includes the Red Lake logo contained within.
Throughout the Event Center were several informational and hands-on demonstration booths. Booths were staffed by the Red Lake DNR, tribal programs, federal and local organizations, community service members and High School students. On the walls were drawings with environmental themes provided by the Red Lake Boys and Girls Club.
Later in the day one could watch the film “Red Lake Walleye Recovery." The Native Nations Institute Film, Ogaag bii azhe giiwewag (Return of the Red Lake Walleye) was filled with many familiar faces. Sponsored proudly by Red Lake DNR/fisheries.
The Red Lake DNR may be among the leaders of Red Lake programs adopting Ojibwe/English signage into their everyday activities and programs. Their newsletter uses much Ojibwemowin. Among the new terms used for Aki Giizhigad are;
Mino-abiitamaagewin (Healthy Habitats)
Mino-ozhichigewin (Healthy Homes)
Begwaji-ategin (Natural Resources)
Mino-bimaadiziwin (Healthy Lifestyles)
The event was hosted by the Red Lake DNR Environmental Program.
For more information call Cody Charwood or Jennifer Malinski at the Red Lake DNR, 218-679-3959