This month, we are sharing the words of Gùdia, a Lhu’ààn Mân Ku Dań Elder, as the community spotlight. Gùdia shares with us her Haa Shagoon, her wisdom, and her questions for mountain communities around the world. Previously, Mountain Sentinels was lucky to welcome Gùdia to the Moving Mountains Summit in 2022 and collaborate with her at the United Nations Sixth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership. Mountain Sentinels fellows Tiffany Peyette and Katie Kamelamela, along with new Mountain Sentinels community member and alumna of the Environmental Stewards of Indigenous Lands program Izabella Ruffino, Mountain Sentinels Director Julia Klein and Program Manager Rowena Davis shared space with Gùdia at the end of September for the Canadian Mountain Network Knowledge Sharing Summit 2023.

Danch’e – ntl’eo yîw shawkwathan. Hello, good morning!

Áyįzhì Gùdia ùye – My name is Gùdia

Ku’chan k’e Mary Jane Johnson ùúye

Kajet ich’e – I am of the Kajet clan, as is ALL my Grandmothers on my Mother’s side.

Ama Tulhusèn ùye ch’e.

Ama Ku’chan k’e Lena Johnson ùye ch’e

Asųą Gùdia ùye ch’e na.

Asųą Ku’chan k’e Mary Johnson ùye ch’e na

Asųą Shaw Ena ùye ch’e na.

Asųą Shaw Ku’chan k’e Emma Johnson ùye ch’e na

Lhù’ààn Man keyi ninje Yukon, Canada yu – I live in the Kluane Lake country in Yukon, Canada.

I open with words to honour my ancestry, my Grandmothers and Grandfathers and to bring honour to the name I am blessed to carry during my lifetime, Gùdia. I tell you my Haa Shagoon – to let you know where I come from which gives me the honor and the right to speak as a Dan ä yèją̀l – a Southern Tutchone woman and my connection to the Lhu’ààna Mân Keyi – the land and waters all around the Kluane Lake country, in the Yukon Territory, just west of Canada’s highest mountain, Mount Logan.

We give thanks to all who opened their hearts and minds as we acknowledge the work and care for mountains in Canada on unceded and ceded Indigenous homelands and across this Blue Planet, Earth.

Shàw níthan – thank you for sharing your work and words and how together we add to and are recreating mountain stories on this Earth.

As Esteemed Elder Virginia Smarch, of the Teslin Tlingit Council, said, “We are part of the land and part of the water,” and by continuing to support each other’s knowledge(s) and to uplift our values we are providing a good way to have collective and collaborative decision making to steward a safe and good Earth for the next 7 Generations to live on, work on, and celebrate the lands and waters of their lifetime.

The sharing for words via Zoom or on print can be hard to connect with emotionally but we know where there is sharing there is a deepening awareness of how each is making a difference, and how by reciprocity, and mutual respect we continue to gain understanding and acceptance of our different ways to care for mountain areas.

By Mountain Sentinels and other Networks continuing to build good and lasting relationships with each other, also between our communities, we support each of our Nation’s efforts to meet its commitment to the COP15’s 30 by 30 goal of the 2022 Bio Diversity Conference Agreement.

 Two-Eyed Seeing and differing views help us care for lands and waters as best meets our abilities to evolve to our present land and water, human, and All Our Relations needs.  We too will continue to contribute to this evolution of life during our lifetime, may we contribute in a Good Way.

 With mutual respect for All Our Relations we can stand firm in a strength-based approach to hear how we can begin to act on what we can do with what we have.

 During this time of reconciliation with Canada’s own colonialism, may we be strong enough to recognize how our role, as one individual, is important in the fabric of global change.

 To conclude, may we be open to hear the wisdom of the intangible ancestral knowledges that the First Nation, Inuit, and Metis-Michif and Indigenous peoples of the world have carried to us at this time in this world’s life by the strength of our Ancestors.

 I will share a few questions:

  • When you are uplifting your knowledge, what do you want to pass on? Why?
  • 2022-2032 is the International Decade of Indigenous Languages – How will you use language to keep Ancestral knowledges alive?
  • What mountain areas are important for the finned ones, the winged ones, the four-legged ones, the crawling, the rooted, and all other relations – how do their homelands evolve under our stewardship?
  • Decolonize the process of reaching and creating a vision/manifesto of your generation that will carry your work through the next 50 years.
  • Understand what is your mandate? What are you building your mandate on? You need to be clear where your mandate is coming from and for.
  • Think- action plan, the discussion time is done. All the things that need to happen will happen – give yourself time to prepare and expect some results in a certain amount of time, remember to allow yourself time to stumble, fall and get back up.

Let’s make our story, one of hope for nan – the land and chù – the waters as both have always cared for ALL peoples and ALL OUR RELATIONS.

Shàw Níthan – Jù tl’á hų̀ kwäch’e’ – Thank You –  For now that is all

Gùdia – Mary Jane

If you are interested in learning more about Gùdia’s work, below are links to works and committees she has, or will, contribute to.