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Waste management symposium a resounding success

6 June 2023

The seventh Colloque sur la gestion des matières résiduelles des Premières Nations au Québec, a three-day symposium on waste management for Quebec’s First Nations, took place from May 30 to June 1, 2023, at the Ndakina in Nicolet. This year’s theme was sharing.

The event was organized in partnership with the communities of Odanak and Wôlinak and was attended by 67 people, including 48 stakeholders from 22 First Nations communities, two regional groups and several guest speakers.

The event is a major annual gathering of the First Nations waste management community of practice and gives participants a chance to network with colleagues from other communities. That’s why this year’s focus was on sharing. The symposium fostered mutual support and a sense of community, with presentations from First Nations stakeholders on their achievements and workshops that gave waste management operators and managers the chance to brainstorm and come up with solutions together.

Topics covered included composting, ecocentres, community mobilization, funding, environmental contaminants, awareness and communication. It’s safe to say there was something for everyone.

Two stands were also set up to recruit stakeholders to join the community of practice and help create the second iteration of the interactive map.

We hope the event has helped build bridges and equip First Nations waste management stakeholders to work toward the common goal of protecting the land through sound waste management.

We’d like to thank the W8banaki Nation communities of Odanak and Wôlinak for welcoming us to their ancestral land and all the First Nations waste management stakeholders who participated. Special thanks to Stéphanie Harnois and Clarisse Bernard. They made it possible for us to visit the waste management infrastructure in Odanak and Wôlinak and learn about W8banaki traditions. Many thanks to Gabriel Bordeleau-Landry, who sang a traditional song at our closing ceremony.

Last but not least, a big thank you to everyone who presented or hosted at the event: Johnny Wylde from Kina8at; Marie-Christine Roussel Gray, Listuguj Environmental Coordinator; Matt Chevrier, Kebaowek Ecocentre Administrator; Gabrielle Lamouche, Kanesatake Communications Officer; Paul Rabbitskin, Mistissini Public Services Officer; Isabelle Déry, Senior Environmental Advisor, Indigenous Services Canada; Anita Devadason, Program Manager, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Indigenous Services Canada; Eugene Nicholas, Director of Ratihontsanonhstats Kanesatake Environment; Isabelle-Anne Bisson, President of TerraHumana Solutions; Fanny Jahan, Coop FA Environmental Project Leader; Holly McComber, Kahnawà:ke Waste Management Director; Iotshatenawi Reed, Kahnawà:ke Communications Officer; and Marie Poirier, RIGIDBNY Executive Assistant and Ecocentre Manager.

Wli Wni, thank you all for contributing to the success of this event.