Story and photo by Ted Simpson
Aboriginal Power is a new book by environmental business leader Chris Henderson of Wellington West. The book tells stories of how First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities are using green energy to help power Canada’s future.
Henderson lays out his vision in a series of 30 stories that profile over 80 Aboriginal communities across the country. The stories tell of an evolving relationship between the government and Aboriginal people.
“The story of Canada’s relationship with its first peoples isn’t a particularly positive one,” says Henderson. “The last 250 years have been littered with broken promises.”
“How do we write a better story for the future?” is the question Henderson is answering in Aboriginal Power. Henderson says that better future will come with the production cleaner energy sources, like hydro, wind and biomass. The places these energy sources are coming from now are Aboriginal communities. To achieve a future we can all share in requires a reduced reliance on fossil fuels and a shift to clean, green, renewable energy – this is the heart of Henderson’s message.
Aboriginal communities, with remote locations based in nature, are creating a foundation for natural energy. “It allows them to have a source of wealth, a source of employment they wouldn’t have otherwise,” says Henderson. “The book is really about turning the page, writing a different story.”
Henderson started his business to protect the environment 25 years ago, when he launched the Delphi Group, a company that provides environmentally friendly business solutions and advises governments on environmental strategies.
It was 10 years ago that Henderson shifted his focus to Aboriginal people in Canada and became a clean energy advisor to over a dozen Aboriginal communities. He has been working hard ever since to develop the potential of Aboriginal power.
“My projection is that it will take about 20 years for the full potential of these projects to flower,” says Henderson. “But that’s not a long time. I hope to be around doing those things for that 20 years.”
To launch Aboriginal Power, Henderson is embarking on a coast to coast tour, spreading his message to nearly every major city in the country.
June 6 will be a special event for Henderson’s home community with a reading and book signing taking place at Kitchissippi United Church, 630 Island Park, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. “Being active in…and around Kitchissippi, I thought it would be interesting to do a community launch as well,” says Henderson.