Spirit of the Lakes

February 3, 2022

Current Projects

Spirit of the Lakes

We are facing a crisis with respect to human-induced climate change, which is impacting the land, water, and air around us. The link between healthy lands, waters, and people has been known, embodied, and taught in Indigenous societies since time immemorial, yet these knowledge systems have been largely delegitimized, ignored, or dismissed in the natural sciences in our pursuit to solve environmental problems. At the same time, we find ourselves in a climate crisis in which the time is now to work together towards reconciling the damage to our relationships with each other, and to all our relations.

Our research aims to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #65, which calls on scientists to advance their understandings of reconciliation, at one of the world’s most influential freshwater research facilities, the International Institute for Sustainable Development Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA), which sits on Treaty #3 Anishinaabe territory. Our objectives are 1) Co-create and govern, with shared and equal decision-making involving representatives of Grand Council Treaty #3, a collaborative research project on microplastics in freshwater lakes; 2) Wrestle with the moral/ethical tensions between worldviews on what ‘harm’ means; and 3) Explore what truth and reconciliation looks in a real-world aquatic science lab.


From the public health project, our first publication is now out:

Castleden, H., Lin, J., & Darrach, M. (2020). The public health emergency of climate change: how/are Canadian post-secondary public health sciences programs responding? Canadian Journal of Public Health111(6), 836-844.