THUNDER BAY – NEWS – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Harvey Yesno congratulated the researchers and participating First Nations as NAN’s joint research on climate change with Lakehead University was one of the 50+ Research Stories recognized at the Research and Innovation Week Awards Reception on Thursday afternoon.
“A two-way exchange of knowledge key to this project, with researchers sharing the latest scientific knowledge on climate change and First Nations sharing their traditional knowledge of the land,” said Grand Chief Yesno. “Through collaborative research we have brought First Nations’ perspectives into the discussion on climate change, and the bridging of Aboriginal Nation and scientific views is helping our communities in their land management decisions.”
The project, Collaborative Research on Climate Change: Forming Bridges Across the Disappearing “Blue-Ice” (Kah-oh-shah-whah-skoh-siig Mii-koom) examines the impact of climate change on NAN First Nations and explores evolving government policies being developed to address it.
Led by PhD candidate Denise Golden, researchers visited 10 of NAN’s 49 First Nations in 2011, covering an area of more 110,000 square kilometres north of the 51st parallel from the northern Manitoba border to the James Bay coast. Observations of changes in the boreal forest environment attributed to climate change were recorded as well as First Nations’ perspectives on climate change. The research was supervised by Dr. Peggy Smith, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Natural Resources Management.
Changes on the territorial landscape are affecting transportation in traditional activities such as hunting and fishing as well as the delivery of essential community supplies by winter roads such as fuel for power generation. Research findings are assisting First Nations develop climate change adaptation strategies and engage in climate change policy.
Research for the project received Lakehead’s Aboriginal Partnership Research Award in 2012. A joint publication “Blue-ice”: Framing climate change and reframing climate change adaptation from the Indigenous peoples’ perspective in the northern boreal forest of Ontario, Canada, was released in 2014.