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Nature Deficit Disorder


In recent years, it has become apparent that people are becoming more and more disassociated from nature. As technology becomes more and more invasive in our everyday lives, we stay indoors more, and we don’t connect with nature in the same way. This lack of contact with the outdoors is sometimes referred to as Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD).  (Note; NDD is not a medical diagnosis but rather a description of the human alienation from nature.)

Humans learn by example, showing our awasisak (children) that it is acceptable to forgo this important relationship with nature is not okay. We need to show them just how important nature is to our isihtwawin (culture), to all cultures. And not just our children, but all people who find themselves less involved with the natural world.

I will say this, as important as it is to reconnect with nature, it is not to say we must forgo technology entirely, but we must acknowledge that it has it’s time and place, and its place is not in nature.

Let’s take our awasisak on hunting and fishing trips again, and teach them how to use plants as medicine and in prayer. Let’s reintroduce ourselves to the world directly in front of us and show our awasisak just how amazing and beautiful nature can be. Let’s show them how our people once lived and keep the legacy of our wahkomākanak (ancestors) strong. We must teach them how them to respect the land. It is essential that this precious knowledge is passed on soon, otherwise it will be gone. We are losing nature, but we will get it back.

Something needs to change, and it starts with us.

"There’s no ending to learning about bush life, medicine, and how you make your dry meat. How if you want to go with a trapper or somebody, they teach you how you skin a lynx of even squirrels or muskrats. If a person’s really interested, you can learn a lot of that stuff. Traditional medicine. I don’t much of it, but what I know I’ll share it. I’ll teach, even if only two or three people know it."

                                                            Rosalie Bourke

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