Aamjiwnaang: A culture in shock

July 30, 2014 @ 10:00am (AKDT)


Aamjiwnaang First Nation is an Aanishinaabek community located on the border between Ontario, Canada and Michigan, USA. Surrounded by 63 petrochemical refineries, Aamjiwnaang was called “The Most Polluted Spot in North America” by National Geographic staff. The World Health Organization concluded that Aamjiwnaang has “The Most Contaminated Air-shed” in Canada. Aamjiwnaang residents continue to be exposed to a range of harmful pollutants, including chemicals known to cause respiratory and cardiovascular health effects. They also have an alarmingly low number of baby boys being born: since the early 1990s, the number of boys born dropped from a normal ratio of roughly half of all births to a skewed ratio of two girls born for every boy. Researchers suspect the change may be caused by exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Join Ron Plain, founder of the Aamjiwnaang Environment Committee as he shares cultural impacts on citizens living on Aamjiwnaang, the research that opened the community’s eyes, and current arguments to counter the Government’s and industry’s blame-the-victim strategies for avoiding responsibility for the cumulative impacts of the pollution.

Featured speakers

Ron Plain is Instructor of Trent University’s Indigenous Environment and Health program and founder of the Aamjiwnaang Environment Committee. Ron has lead several well-documented grassroots actions to bring Aamjiwnaang to the world’s attention. A sought after Lecturer, Ron has spoken around the world on the impacts of industry, contamination and encroachment on Indigenous cultures and people. Join the Conversation.

James Brophy, PhD will be joining Ron to discuss his work with the Aamjiwnaang First Nation’s environment committee to investigate the health of their community.  In 2008, together with his life partner Dr. Margaret Keith, Dr. Brophy was awarded the Canadian Geographic Environmental Health Gold Award for their work with the Aamjiwnaang community.  And in 2013 they were recognized with the Scientific Award by the Occupational Health Section of the American Public Health Association for their research into the links between occupational exposures and breast cancer. James Brophy holds a doctorate in occupational and environmental health from the University of Stirling in Scotland.

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