'They're neighbours': Ethan Hawke on why he joined Mi'kmaq call to halt oil drilling
Published Tuesday, November 24, 2015 1:06PM EST
Four-time Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke says he considers Nova Scotia's Mi'kmaq people to be his "neighbours," and that they've inspired him to support a moratorium on drilling for oil and gas in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.
"You know, I have a place up in Nova Scotia," Hawke said CTV's Canada AM on Tuesday. "There is a Mi'kmaq (reserve) right near my house."
Hawke, who is currently on tour promoting his new book "Rules for a Knight," said the nearby First Nations group reached out to ask him to support their cause.
"They contacted me and made me aware of what was happening in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and what they're doing to protect it," he said.
Along with other environmental groups, the Mi'kmaq are calling for a 12-year moratorium on drilling in the area.
They say the drilling could harm the fragile ecosystem and their traditional lands, and want a thorough environmental assessment before any operations continue.
Hawke joined the Mi'kmaq for a traditional water ceremony last month to honour the community's relationship with their environment.
"You know, they're an impressive group of people," Hawke said. "I really like how they're using their indigenous rights to help us all."
Hawke owns a property in St. George's Bay, N.S., often spends time there during the summer.
In October, he told The Canadian Press that the area is "an absolutely magical place."
Hawke told Canada AM that he feels it's important to protect the gulf not only for himself and the Mi'kmaq currently living there, but for future generations.
"I really wanted my kids to see me (advocating with the Mi'kmaq) because that piece of property, with any luck, will be theirs'," he said. "And the legacy of taking care of that land and that water will fall to them."
Beyond environmental stewardship, Hawke also recently offered his children life lessons in the form of a new book.
In "Rules for a Knight," the author and actor lists a series of traits all good knights – or good people – should possess.
Hawke says he drew upon his own life experience and family lessons to come up with the complete list of 20 rules, which span from lessons on humility to ruminations on solitude, friendship, and death.
Each chapter opens with an illustration of a bird, drawn by his wife, Ryan Shawhughes.
Hawke said the idea for the book originally sprang from a conversation with his Shawhughes about the most important rules in their home. The concept evolved into "Rules for a princess," which was dedicated to his eldest daughter. Then, Hawke adjusted the title to fit his son's interests.
"It slowly just grew in the telling until finally, this year, my oldest is graduating and we just decided to publish it," he said.
Hawke said his wife and children influenced the book so much that, in some ways, he doesn't feel right taking all the credit.
"I feel much more like the editor than an author," he said.