In particular, we are honoured to recognize the dignitaries who join us that day. First Nations and Métis elders and leaders from across the province Mike Beaver, AEMERA board member and Elder of the Bigstone Cree Nation; Chief Tony Alexis from Alexis Nakota Sioux First Nation, and Grand Chief of Treaty 6 Nakota Sioux Nation; Harley Bastien, Elder of the Piikani First Nation and also member of AEMERA’s Indigenous Wisdom Advisory Panel; Dr. Herb Belcourt, Metis Elder and Member of the Order of Canada; and from the Dene Tha’ First Nation, past Chief James Ahnassay. We were also joined by Member of Parliament, Linda Duncan, an old friend of Jay Nagendran’s.
To start us off on the right path in our new work space, Elder and AEMERA board member Mike Beaver graciously offered to perform a smudge for our opening. A smudge is traditional ceremony in which various medicine plants are burned in order to provide a ritual cleansing.
AEMERA recognizes that this new office space sits on Treaty 6 territory and as such, we were honoured to have Grand Chief Tony Alexis say a few words to welcome us.
Goal 3 of AEMERA’s Business Plan states that AEMERA will recognize Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and involve Aboriginal communities in our monitoring, evaluation and reporting programs and activities. A credible and effective monitoring system must have a strong scientific foundation AND a strong understanding – and meaningful use – of traditional ecological knowledge.
AEMERA is working to develop a better understanding of what traditional knowledge teaches us about environmental status and trends and has been making significant progress in this area. An Indigenous Wisdom Advisory Panel has been set up to provide strategic advice and guidance to AEMERA regarding the proper and respectful use of indigenous wisdom in our monitoring, evaluation and reporting programs.
This panel is a very dynamic and experienced group and we look forward to officially announcing its members soon.
In addition to our working relationships, AEMERA is also very proud of the space we’re in. The building itself – 9Triple8 Jasper – has been radically redeveloped inside and out and it is shaping up to be one of the more eye-catching buildings in downtown Edmonton—and one of the greenest, too.
The building has been retrofitted to meet standards set by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and it has been awarded LEED Gold Existing Building status. This means it uses significantly less energy than the average Canadian office building. As an environmental organization, meeting the LEED Gold standard was one of our core criteria, and the number one thing we were looking for in a new home.
AEMERA is transforming the environmental monitoring, evaluation and reporting system in Alberta. And while that is no easy task, we are well on our way! We would like to thank all of our working partners for their continued support. There is an exciting road ahead as we continue working together to monitor, evaluate and inform Albertan’s on the condition of our environment.
Come visit us whenever you would like, our doors are always open!