My original plan was to walk and take a picture of the rabbits that live on the land in open lots around harbour landing. However, when I got to the open area beside the Co-op, the sun was perfectly illuminating the garbage in a way that I couldn’t ignore. As I continued to watch the garbage flap like flags in the wind, I saw gophers and rabbits running around the area. I couldn’t stop thinking about how this is land that our more-than-human relatives call home, yet we polluted it with our garbage and nobody seems to care. I thought of Donald’s (2016) words about how it is, “imperative to remember that we as human beings live in the world together and also alongside our more-than-human relatives; we are called to constantly think and act with reference to those relationships” (p. 11). On this photographed patch of shared land, it is clear that we haven’t been acting with our more-than-human relatives in mind. I also thought about Kovach’s (2013) ideas on how “true respectful co-existence can only exist when those that benefit from colonial empiricism…reimagine themselves ‘as human beings in equal and respectful relation to other human beings and the natural environment’” (p. 120). Kovach is right, as settlers we immediately place ourselves above everything else on the land. To truly honour treaties, we need to make a conscious effort to recall that we are all equals on the land and we need to treat our more-than-human relatives with respect. 


For as long as I can remember I have been in awe of the sky. No matter what is happening in the sky: clear skies, cloudy days, airplanes flying ahead, thunderstorms, rainbows, sunsets, starry nights, or northern lights, I often find myself stopping in my tracks to stare upwards at the sky. I always associated this feeling with being born and raised in Saskatchewan; “the land of the living skies.” However, I never realized the irony in it until now. So many people repeat this phrase without truly seeing the sky as living or as a more-than-human relative. I am guilty of this myself. I thought about the words of Donald (2016), “we are called to repeatedly acknowledge and honour the fact that the sun, the land, the wind, the water…are quite literally our relatives” (p. 10). The more I think about everything the sky beholds and the connection I feel to the sky, the more I see the sky as a living relative. In this, I realize the importance of maintaining good relations with the sky. As Donald (2016) said, “we are fully reliant on them for our survival, and so the wise person works to ensure that those more-than-human relatives are kept healthy and treated with the deep respect that they deserve” (p. 10). It is clear that we are currently not achieving this because as global warming continues, extreme weather becomes more common which reminds us that we need to do a better job. 


One of my favourite summertime activities to do with my family is go fishing. I have never really considered how this impacts my more-than-human relatives or how it may go against treaty promises. I thought about when Cardinal and Hildebrandt (2000) discussed how the commissioner said “All of the creatures under the water, that too, I didn’t come to ask you for it. That will continue to be yours from where you get your sustenance in life, I didn’t come to ask for that…Your way of life and how you survive from this and how you look after yourself you will always continue to have, that is not what I am asking you for” (p. 36). Considering my family goes fishing just for fun and not for our livelihood, this promise has been long broken. I also reflected on the current condition of many different watersheds across the province, specifically the Qu’Appelle watershed. We polluted it so much that there are typically advisories out that warn people to not eat the fish because of mercury levels. The contaminated fish isn’t even the worst of it. I also thought about the many reserves across Saskatchewan and Canada that don’t even have access to clean drinking water because of the pollution. So much for “you will always continue to have that.” I am left to wonder if the government isn’t even taking human lives into account with water, how are we going to make them consider our more-than human relations? 


Forcing myself to really narrow in and pay explicit attention to my small more-than-human relative made me realize how little I pay attention to them. I typically notice flowers but I never give them much thought besides how pretty they look. This time, I started to think about the flower’s pollen and bees. More specifically, the role bees play in our livelihood. Yet, they are dying at alarming rates and nobody seems to care. However, if you really start to think about life without bees it is a scary thought with no real future. So, these “little things” play a major role in our survival but they don’t get any respect. I now realize how important it is that we need to listen to Cardinal and Hildebrandt (2000) and “remember the Creator, who created all of these things, all of the resources” (p. 32) so that we remember to respect even our smallest more-than-human-relatives. I am hopeful that this change can happen and I think it starts with addressing and actually understanding treaty relationships. As Vowel (2016) said, “Relationships must be renewed with constant care, negotiation, and openness to change” (p. 244). We need to listen and re-evaluate and renew our relationship with our more-than-human relatives. Once these relationships are formed then there will be more respect for our more-than-human relatives and only then will real change begin to happen. This isn’t a new concept, this is what Indigenous peoples have been asking us to do.