Indigenous Communities

The Prairie Provinces are home to over 380,000 First Nation peoples. The close relationship that Indigenous peoples have with the land—economically, culturally, and spiritually—and the existing inequalities Indigenous populations often face in relation to non-Indigenous Canadians, makes them particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Many rural and remote Indigenous communities will face a multitude of climate change impacts: greater food insecurity, less reliable travel (especially for communities dependent on ice roads in wintertime), vulnerability to flooding and wildfire, reduced access to traditional medicines, and more stress on mental and emotional well-being.

While Indigenous Peoples disproportionately experience the impacts of climate change, they play an integral role in monitoring changes and adaptation processes. Ecological Traditional Knowledge and Indigenous Traditional Knowledge encompass an understanding of seasonal patterns and local climates that have been passed down through generations in Indigenous communities. This knowledge is highly valued and adds significantly to understanding of climate science and climate change adaptation planning.

Partnership with Indigenous communities and the inclusion of Traditional Knowledge in climate adaptation will shape ClimateWest’s future work in this area. We will seek guidance from Indigenous partners on deploying ClimateWest in service of local monitoring and adaptation planning priorities, such as supporting the climate change coordinators and land guardian programs.