Surrounded by Canada’s densest concentration of chemical manufacturing plants, members of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation express concern about a declining male birth rate and high incidences of miscarriage, asthma, cancer, and cardiovascular illness. Everyday Exposure uncovers the systemic injustices they face as they fight for environmental justice. Exploring the problems that conflicting levels of jurisdiction pose for the creation of effective policy, analyzing clashes between Indigenous and scientific knowledge, and documenting the experiences of Aamjiwnaang residents as they navigate their toxic environment, this book argues that social and political change requires a transformative “sensing policy” approach, one that takes the voices of Indigenous citizens seriously.
Sarah Marie Wiebe is an assistant teaching professor at the University of Victoria and holds a SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellowship with the Institute for Studies and Innovation in Community-University Engagement (ISICUE). She has published on the politics of reproductive justice, ecologies of Indigenous citizenship, and community-engaged scholarship. She has also worked with Indigenous communities in Ontario and British Columbia on community filmmaking projects such as Indian Givers and To Fish as Formerly.
Everyday Exposure provides a thorough analysis of the lack of health and environmental protections for First Nations peoples at all levels of government and identifies the need for government regulation to redress what have become complex reporting practices, a better understanding of cumulative environmental effects, and improved health services being administered by Health Canada.
Based on extensive time spent in the community learning directly from Aamjiwnaang’s citizens and experiencing the community’s pollution crisis in an embodied and empathetic way, this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the legacies of environmental racism in Canada today.