Indigenous Climate Action

How can Indigenous Climate Action and other environmental organizations participate in and uphold appropriate engagement and representation of Inuit knowledge and worldview in climate policy?

ᐋᖅᑭᒋᐊᕈᑎᖃᕐᓂᖅ ᐅᕙᑦᑎᓐᓂᑦ | Positioning ourselves

This work is being conducted by Indigenous Climate Action (ICA), an Indigenous-led organization that works to support Indigenous communities in reinforcing their place as leaders in driving climate change solutions. Our current programs are designed to empower Indigenous communities to take action on climate change and to nurture the development of community-led solutions that are rooted in Indigenous knowledge and practices.

This identified research need comes from conversations our organization has held with Inuk relatives through informal engagements with ICA’s steering committee and advisory council. This case study provides ICA the opportunity to engage in a healthy critique of our own work, particularly in the area of our Decolonizing Climate Policy Project (DCP), which “aims to investigate the shortcomings and problems associated with Canadian climate policy while at the same time supporting, and developing Indigenous-led climate policy (ICA, 2024)”. 

This case study serves as an opportunity for ICA to look inward on our research methods and ethics process. It is a stepping stone for future work on better engagement processes with Inuit, and will inform DCP 3 and other relevant work.  

ᑕᒪᓐᓇ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᖑᔪᖅ ᐊᐅᓚᑕᐅᓪᓗᓂ ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᓯᒪᔪᐃᑦ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᐊᐅᓚᔾᔭᒋᐊᕈᑎᖃᕐᓂᕐᒧᑦ (ICA), ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᓯᒪᔪᓄᑦ ᓯᕗᓕᖅᑕᐅᓪᓗᓂ ᑎᒥᐅᔪᖅ ᐱᔾᔪᑎᖃᖅᑐᓂ ᐃᑲᔪᖅᑐᐃᓂᕐᒥ ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᓯᒪᔪᐃᑦ ᓄᓇᓕᖏᓐᓂᑦ ᐅᔾᔨᕈᓱᓕᖅᑎᒃᑲᓐᓂᖅᑐᒋᑦ ᓯᕗᓕᖅᑎᐅᔭᕆᐊᖃᕐᓂᖏᓐᓂᑦ ᐊᔭᐅᕆᓂᕐᒥ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᐋᖅᑭᒋᐊᕈᑕᐅᒍᓐᓇᖅᑐᓂᑦ. ᒫᓐᓇᒃᑯᑦ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᑦᓴᖁᑎᕗᑦ ᓴᓇᔭᐅᓯᒪᔪᑦ ᓴᙱᓕᖅᑎᑦᓯᒋᐊᕆᓂᕐᒥ ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᓯᒪᔪᐃᑦ ᓄᓇᓕᖏᓐᓂᑦ ᐊᐅᓚᔾᔭᒋᐊᕈᑎᒋᓗᒍ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓ ᑎᒍᓯᒋᐊᖅᑎᑦᓯᓪᓗᑎᓪᓗ ᐱᕙᓪᓕᐊᑎᑦᓯᓂᕐᒥ ᓄᓇᓕᖃᖅᑐᓄᓪᓗ ᓯᕗᓕᖅᑕᐅᔪᓂᑦ ᖃᓄᖅᑑᕈᑎᖃᕐᓗᑎᑦ ᑐᙵᕕᖃᖅᑐᓂᑦ ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᓯᒪᔪᐃᑦ ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᑐᖃᖏᓐᓂᑦ ᐱᓕᕆᔾᔪᓯᑐᖃᖏᓐᓂᓪᓗ.

ᑕᒪᓐᓇ ᓇᓗᓇᐃᖅᑕᐅᓯᒪᔪᖅ ᖃᐅᔨᓴᕈᑕᐅᒋᐊᖃᕐᓂᖓᓂ ᐱᓯᒪᔪᖅ ᐅᖃᖃᑎᒌᒍᑕᐅᖃᑦᑕᖅᓯᒪᔪᓂᑦ ᑎᒥᖁᑎᑦᑎᓐᓄᑦ ᑲᑎᑎᑦᓯᓪᓗᑎᑦ ᐃᓄᓐᓂᑦ ᐃᓚᒌᑦᑐᓂᑦ ᑖᒃᑯᓂᖓ ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᓯᒪᔪᐃᑦ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᐊᐅᓚᔾᔭᒋᐊᕈᑎᖃᕐᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᑲᑎᒪᔨᕋᓛᖏᓐᓄᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐅᖃᐅᔾᔨᒋᐊᕐᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᑲᑎᒪᔨᖏᓐᓂ.  ᑕᒪᓐᓇ ᖃᐅᔨᓴᕈᑕᐅᓂᖓ ᐱᕕᑦᓴᖃᖅᑎᑦᓯᔪᖅ ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᓯᒪᔪᐃᑦ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᐊᐅᓚᔾᔭᒋᐊᕈᑎᖃᕐᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᐃᓚᐅᑎᑦᓯᓂᕐᒥ ᕿᒥᕐᕈᔭᐅᓗᓂ ᖃᓄᖅ ᐋᖅᑭᒋᐊᖅᑐᑦᓴᐅᒻᒪᖔᖅ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᕆᓯᒪᔭᕗᑦ, ᐱᓗᐊᖅᑐᒥ ᐃᓗᓕᖃᖅᑐᑦ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᕆᓯᒪᔭᑦᑎᓐᓂ ᑎᒍᓯᒋᐊᕈᑎᖃᕐᓂᖅ ᐊᐅᓚᑦᓯᓂᕐᒥ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᐊᑐᐊᒐᓕᐅᕈᑎᖃᕐᓂᕐᒥ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᑦᑎᓐᓂ (DCP), “ᑐᕌᒐᖃᖅᑐᓂ ᖃᐅᔨᓴᕆᐊᕈᑎᖃᕐᓂᕐᒥ ᐱᑕᖃᙱᓗᐊᖅᓯᒪᔪᓂᑦ ᐱᓇᐃᓗᑕᕈᖅᓯᒪᔪᓂᓪᓗ ᐊᑦᑐᐊᓂᖃᖅᑐᓂ ᖃᓇᑕᐅᑉ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᐊᑐᐊᒐᓕᐅᕈᑎᒋᓯᒪᔭᖏᓪᓕ, ᐊᑕᐅᑦᓯᑯᑦᓴᐃᓐᓇᖅ ᐃᑲᔪᖅᑐᐃᓪᓗᓂ, ᐱᕙᓪᓕᐊᑎᑦᓯᓪᓗᓕᔾ; ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᓯᒪᔪᓄᑦ-ᓯᕗᓕᖅᑕᐅᔪᓂᑦ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᐊᑐᐊᒐᓕᐅᕈᑎᖃᕐᓂᕐᒥ (ICA, 2024)”. 

ᑖᓐᓇ ᖃᐅᔨᓴᕈᑕᐅᓯᒪᔪᖅ ᐱᕕᑦᓴᖃᕆᐊᖅᑎᑦᓯᕗᖅ ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᓯᒪᔪᐃᑦ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᐊᐅᓚᔾᔭᒋᐊᕈᑎᖃᕐᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᑎᒥᖁᑎᖓᓐᓂ ᑕᑯᒋᐊᕐᓗᑎᑦ ᐃᒻᒥᓄᑦ ᖃᓄᖅ ᖃᐅᔨᓴᕈᑎᖃᖃᑦᑕᕐᒪᖔᑦᑕ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᒪᓕᑦᑕᐅᒋᐊᓕᓐᓂᑦ ᐊᑐᐊᒐᖃᑦᓯᐊᕋᓗᐊᕐᒪᖔᑦᑕ. ᐊᓪᓗᕆᐊᕐᕕᑦᓴᐅᓪᓗᓂ ᓯᕗᓂᑦᓴᑎᓐᓂ ᐱᓇᓱᐊᖃᑎᖃᑦᓯᐊᓂᖅᓴᐅᓗᑕ ᐃᓄᓐᓂᑦ, ᐃᓗᓪᓕᖅᑐᐃᒍᑕᐅᓂᐊᕆᓪᓗᓂ DCP 3 ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐊᓯᖏᓐᓂ

ᓄᐃᑎᑦᓯᒋᐊᙵᐅᑎ | Introduction

We know that different environments create different contexts in which the climate crisis unfolds. Consequently, responses to the climate crisis vary across Indigenous communities due to socio-economic, geopolitical, cultural and historical factors.

Indigenous Peoples and communities have been and continue to be structurally excluded from the creation and implementation of Canada’s current climate policy framework. This violates our right to self-determination as well as the right to free, prior and informed consent, which is the inherent “right Indigenous communities have to decide ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to all proposed developments that may affect the collective rights of their communities (What is FPIC, n.d.)”. In Phase 1 of Decolonizing Climate Policy, we highlighted the federal government’s failure to uphold commitments to a Nation-to-Nation and Inuit-Crown relationship, citing examples of violations of Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination and free, prior and informed consent in the drafting of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change as well as the Healthy Environment and Healthy Economy plan.

Inuit have been and continue to be actively engaged in mitigating the impacts of climate change on their lands despite their structural exclusion from federal climate policy development. The purpose of this study is to uplift the richness and validity of Inuit ways of knowing, and amplify the importance of Inuit perspectives in climate policy. There are clear lessons to be learned from the shortcomings of current engagement practices and approaches to policy. Inuit have articulated their own priorities for policy and engagement, providing valuable information and guidance. ICA, along with other ENGOs, can and should learn from these insights to facilitate better, more grounded research and the policies that this research informs.

This exploratory background work is vital to understand how Indigenous Climate Action can participate in and uphold appropriate engagement and representation of Inuit knowledge and worldview in climate policy. We begin by outlining some of the barriers faced by Inuit to participating in climate policy. We then learn of how Inuit are responding to these barriers. Finally, we explore how we can move forward in the equitable inclusion of Inuit perspectives in climate policy as comrades working towards the shared vision of climate justice. 

The goals of the case study are as follows:

  1. Develop an understanding of Inuit approaches to climate policy throughout Canada according to their own teachings, laws and worldview. 
  2. Seek and support recommendations that ensure Inuit rights, worldviews and laws are equitably represented in ICA’s Decolonizing Climate Policy Project. A sub-objective of this goal is to encourage other environmental organizations and orders of government to undertake similar efforts. 
  3. Strengthen the relationship between Indigenous Climate Action and Inuit living in Inuit Nunangat. 

ᖃᐅᔨᒪᕗᒍᑦ ᐊᔾᔨᒌᙱᓐᓂᖃᖅᑐᑦ ᐊᕙᑏᑦ ᐊᔾᔨᒌᙱᑦᑑᑎᓂᑦ ᐊᑐᖅᐸᓪᓕᐊᒻᒪᑕ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ. ᐱᔾᔪᑎᒋᓪᓗᒍ, ᑭᐅᔾᔪᑎᑦᓴᓕᐊᕆᔭᐅᓯᒪᔪᑦ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᓯᒪᔫᖃᑎᒌᓂ ᐊᔾᔨᒌᙱᓐᓂᖃᓪᓛᔪᖅ ᐱᔾᔪᑎᒋᓪᓗᒋᑦ ᐃᓅᖃᑎᒌᑦᑐᑦ-ᑮᓇᐅᔭᓕᐅᕈᓐᓇᕐᓂᖏᑦ, ᓄᓇᖏᑕ ᒐᕙᒪᓄᑦ ᐊᐅᓚᑕᐅᓂᖏᑦ, ᐃᓕᖅᑯᓯᖃᖃᑎᒌᙱᓐᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐊᔾᔨᒌᙱᑦᑐᓂᑦ ᐊᑑᑎᓯᒪᓂᖏᓐᓂᑦ.

ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᓯᒪᔪᐃᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᓄᓇᓕᖏᑦ ᐃᓚᐅᑎᑕᐅᙱᓐᓇᓕᒫᖅᑐᑦ ᐋᖅᑭᓱᖅᓯᒪᔪᑎᒍᓪᓗ ᐃᓚᐃᓐᓈᖅᑕᐅᓪᓗᑎᑦ ᓴᓇᔭᐅᓂᖏᓐᓄᑦ ᐊᑐᓕᖅᑎᑕᐅᕙᓪᓕᐊᓂᖏᓐᓂᓪᓗ ᑲᓇᑕᐅᑉ ᓯᓚᒥ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᐊᑐᐊᒐᓕᐊᕆᕙᑦᑕᖏᓐᓄᑦ. ᑕᒪᓐᓇ ᓯᖁᒥᑦᓯᓂᐅᔪᖅ ᐱᔪᓐᓇᐅᑎᖃᕐᓂᕐᒥ ᓇᒻᒥᓂᖅᓱᕈᓐᓇᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᐱᖃᓯᐅᓪᓗᒍᓪᓗ ᐱᔪᓐᓇᐅᑎᖃᕐᓂᖅ ᐊᑭᖃᙱᑦᑐᒥᒃ, ᓯᕗᓂᐊᒍᑦ ᑐᑭᓯᒪᑎᑕᐅᑦᓯᐊᕐᓗᑎᑦ ᐊᖏᕈᑕᐅᒋᐊᖃᕐᓂᖓᓂ, ᐱᑖᕆᓯᒪᒐᒥᐅᒃ “ᐱᔪᓐᓇᐅᑎᖃᕐᓂᖅ ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᓯᒪᔪᓄᑦ ᐊᖏᕈᓐᓇᕐᓗᑎᑦ ‘ᐄ’ ᐅᑉᕙᓘᓐᓃᑦ ‘ᐋᒡᒐ’ ᐱᕙᓪᓕᐊᑎᑕᐅᒐᓱᐊᖅᑐᓕᒫᕐᓂᑦ ᐊᑦᑐᐃᓂᖃᕈᓐᓇᖅᑐᓂᑦ ᐱᔪᓐᓇᐅᑎᖃᕐᓂᖏᓐᓂ ᓄᓇᓕᖏᑦᑕ (ᓱᓇᐅᓂᖓ FPIC, n.d.)”. ᐱᓕᕆᐊᖑᓂᖓ ᓯᕗᓪᓕᕐᒥ (1) ᑎᒍᓯᒋᐊᕈᑎᖃᕐᓂᖅ ᐊᐅᓚᑦᓯᓂᕐᒥ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᐊᑐᐊᒐᓕᐅᕈᑎᖃᕐᓂᕐᒥ, ᐊᓚᒡᒐᐃᒋᐊᒃᑲᓐᓂᖅᑎᓚᐅᖅᑕᕗᑦ ᒐᕙᒪᑐᖃᒃᑯᑦ ᐊᑐᕐᓂᐊᕐᓂᕋᖅᓯᒪᔭᒥᓂᑦ ᒪᓕᙱᑦᓯᒪᓂᕆᔭᖓ ᑲᓇᑕᓕᒫᕐᒥ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᒐᕙᒪᑐᖃᒃᑯᓪᓗ ᐱᓇᓱᐊᖃᑎᒌᓐᓂᖏᑕ, ᐆᑦᑑᑎᖃᖅᑐᖅ ᓯᖁᒥᑦᓯᓯᒪᓂᖏᑕ ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᓯᒪᔪᐃᑦ ᐱᔪᓐᓇᐅᑎᖏᓐᓂᑦ ᓇᒻᒥᓂᖅᓱᕈᒪᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐊᑭᖃᙱᑦᑐᒥᒃ, ᓯᕗᓂᐊᒍᑦ ᑐᑭᓯᒪᑎᑕᐅᑦᓯᐊᕐᓗᑎᑦ ᐊᖏᕈᑕᐅᒋᐊᖃᕐᓂᖓᓂ ᑎᑎᕋᖅᑕᐅᕙᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓ ᑲᓇᑕᓕᒫᕐᒨᖓᔪᖅ ᐱᓇᓱᐊᕐᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᐊᑐᐊᒐᖅ ᓴᓗᒪᔪᓂᑦ ᐱᕈᖅᐸᓪᓕᐊᒍᑎᖃᕐᓗᑎᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᐱᖃᓯᐅᓪᓗᒍ ᖃᓄᐃᙱᑦᓯᐊᖅᑐᒥ ᐊᕙᑎᖃᕆᐊᖃᕐᓂᖅ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᑮᓇᐅᔭᓕᐅᕋᓱᐊᕈᑎᖃᕐᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᐸᕐᓇᐅᑎᒥ. 

ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐃᓚᐅᖃᑕᐅᖏᓐᓇᖅᑐᑦ ᐊᑐᓕᖅᑎᑦᓯᑦᑕᐃᓕᓂᕐᒥ ᐊᑦᑐᖅᑕᐅᒍᑕᐅᒍᓐᓇᖅᑐᓄᑦ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᓄᓇᖏᓐᓂ ᓱᓇᒃᑯᑖᒻᒪᕆᓂ ᐱᑕᖃᖅᑎᑕᐅᙱᒃᑲᓗᐊᕋᒥᑦ ᒐᕙᒪᑐᖃᒃᑯᑦ ᐊᑐᐊᒐᓕᐊᕆᕙᑦᑕᖏᓐᓄᑦ. ᑕᒪᑐᒪ ᖃᐅᔨᓴᕆᐊᕐᓂᐅᑉ ᐱᔾᔪᑎᖓ ᒪᑭᑎᑦᓯᒋᐊᒃᑲᓐᓂᕈᒪᓪᓗᑎᑦ ᐱᑕᖃᓪᓚᕆᓐᓂᕆᔭᖓᓂᑦ ᓈᒻᒪᑦᓯᐊᕐᓂᕆᔭᖏᓐᓂᓪᓗ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐱᔾᔪᓯᖏᑦ ᖃᐅᔨᒪᓂᕐᒧᑦ, ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᑐᓴᖅᑎᑦᓯᒋᐊᒃᑲᓐᓂᕈᒪᓪᓗᑕ ᐱᒻᒪᕆᐅᓂᖏᓐᓂᑦ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᑕᑯᓐᓇᕐᓂᕆᔭᖏᑦ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᐊᑐᐊᒐᓕᐅᖃᑦᑕᓂᕐᒥ.  ᑐᑭᓯᓇᑦᓯᐊᖅᑐᓂᑦ ᐃᓕᔾᔪᑎᑦᓴᖃᖅᑐᖅ ᒫᓐᓇᒃᑯᑦ ᐱᑕᖃᙱᓗᐊᕐᓂᖏᓐᓄᑦ ᐃᓚᐅᑎᑦᓯᒋᐊᕐᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᐱᓕᕆᔾᔪᓯᐅᕙᑦᑐᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐊᑐᐊᒐᓕᐅᖅᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᕐᒧᑦ. ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐅᖃᐅᓯᖃᖃᑦᑕᐃᓐᓇᖅᓯᒪᔪᑦ ᓇᒻᒥᓂᖅ ᓯᕗᓪᓕᐅᑎᒍᒪᔭᕐᒥᓂᑦ ᐊᑐᐊᒐᓕᐅᕐᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᐃᓚᐅᑎᑦᓯᒋᐊᕐᓂᕐᒧᓪᓗ, ᑐᑭᓯᑎᑦᓯᒋᐊᖅᑐᑎᑦ ᐊᑑᑎᖃᓪᓚᕆᑦᑐᓂᑦ ᐃᒫᖓᐃᕆᐊᕈᑕᐅᒍᓐᓇᖅᑐᓂᓪᓗ. ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᓯᒪᔪᐃᑦ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᐊᐅᓚᔾᔭᒋᐊᕈᑎᖏᑦ, ᐱᖃᓯᐅᓪᓗᒋᑦ ᐊᓯᖏᑦ ᐊᕙᑎᓕᕆᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᑎᒥᐅᔪᑦ, ᐃᓕᑦᑐᓐᓇᖅᑐᑦ ᐃᓕᑦᑕᕆᐊᖃᖅᑐᑎᓪᓗ ᑕᒪᒃᑯᓂᖓ ᐊᐅᓚᑦᓯᑦᓯᐊᕐᓂᕐᓴᐅᒍᓐᓇᖁᓪᓗᒋᑦ ᑲᑎᒪᓂᐅᔪᓂᑦ, ᑐᙵᕕᖃᕐᓂᖅᓴᓂᑦ ᖃᐅᔨᓴᕈᑎᖃᖅᐸᓪᓗᑎᑦ ᐊᑐᐊᒐᓕᐅᕈᑕᐅᓂᐊᖅᑐᓄᑦ ᐱᔾᔪᑎᒋᓪᓗᒍ ᑖᓐᓇ ᖃᐅᔨᓴᕈᑕᐅᔪᖅ.  

ᑕᒪᓐᓇ ᕿᒥᕐᕈᔭᐅᕙᓪᓕᐊᔪᖅ ᑐᑭᓯᒋᐊᕈᑕᐅᒍᓐᓇᖅᑐᓂᑦ ᐱᓇᓱᐊᕈᑎᖃᕐᓂᖅ ᐱᒻᒪᕆᐅᔪᖅ ᑐᑭᓯᒪᖁᓪᓗᑕ ᖃᓄᖅ ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᓯᒪᔪᐃᑦ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᐊᐅᓚᔾᔭᒋᐊᕈᑎᒋᓯᒪᔭᖏᑦ ᓈᒻᒪᑦᓯᐊᖅᑐᓂᑦ ᐃᓚᐅᑎᑦᓯᓂᕐᒥ ᑭᒡᒐᑐᖅᑕᐅᓗᑎᓪᓗ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᑐᖃᖏᑦ ᓄᓇᕐᔪᐊᒥᓪᓗ ᑕᑯᓐᓇᕈᓯᖏᑦ ᓯᓚᒨᖓᔪᓂᑦ ᐊᑐᐊᒐᓕᐅᕈᑕᐅᕙᑦᑐᓄᑦ? ᐱᒋᐊᕈᑎᖃᖅᑯᒍᑦ ᓇᓗᓇᐃᔭᖅᑐᒋᑦ ᐃᓚᖏᑦ ᐊᐳᖅᑕᕈᑕᐅᕙᑦᑐᑦ ᐃᓄᓐᓄᑦ ᐃᓚᐅᖃᑕᐅᓂᕐᒥ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᐊᑐᐊᒐᓕᐅᕐᓂᕐᒥ. ᐃᓕᒍᑎᒋᓂᐊᕆᓪᓗᑎᒍᓪᓗ ᖃᓄᖅ ᐃᓄᑦ ᑭᐅᔾᔪᑎᖃᖅᐸᓪᓕᐊᒻᒪᖔᑕ ᑕᒪᒃᑯᓄᖓ ᐊᐳᕈᑕᐅᕙᑦᑐᓄᑦ. ᑭᖑᓪᓕᕐᐹᕐᒥ, ᕿᒥᕐᕈᒋᐊᕐᓂᖃᖅᑯᒍᑦ ᖃᓄᖅ ᓯᕗᒧᐊᒋᐊᕈᓐᓇᕐᒪᖔᑕ ᐃᓚᐅᑎᑕᐅᑦᓯᐊᕐᓗᑎᑦ ᓇᓕᒧᒌᓐᓂᒃᑯᑦ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᑕᑯᓐᓇᕐᓂᕆᔭᖏᑦ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᐊᑐᐊᒐᓕᐅᕐᓂᒥ ᐱᓇᓱᐊᖃᑕᐅᑦᓯᐊᕐᓗᑎᑦ ᑖᑦᓱᒥᖓᑦᓴᐃᓐᓇᖅ ᑕᐅᑐᒐᖃᓕᕐᓗᑎᑦ ᓯᓚᐅᑦ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᐋᖅᑭᒋᐊᕈᑕᐅᔪᓄᑦ.  

ᑐᕌᒐᕆᔭᖏᑦ ᑕᒪᑐᒪ ᖃᐅᔨᓴᕈᑕᐅᔫᑉ ᒪᑯᐊᖑᔪᑦ:

  1. ᑐᑭᓯᕙᓪᓕᐊᒍᑎᒋᓗᒋᑦ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐊᑐᕆᐊᖅᐸᑦᑕᖏᓐᓂᑦ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᐊᑐᐊᒐᓕᐅᕐᓂᕐᒥ ᑲᓇᑕᓕᒫᕐᒥ ᒪᓕᓪᓗᒋᑦ ᐃᓕᓴᖅᑕᐅᒍᑎᒋᓯᒪᔭᖏᑦ, ᐱᖁᔭᓕᕆᔾᔪᓯᖏᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᓄᓇᕐᔪᐊᕐᒥ ᑕᑯᓐᓇᕐᓂᕆᔭᖏᑦ. 
  2. ᐃᑲᔪᖅᑐᖅᑕᐅᒍᒪᓪᓗᑕ ᐱᖁᔨᕗᖔᓕᐅᖅᑎᓪᓗᑕ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐱᔪᓐᓇᐅᑎᖏᑦ, ᓄᓇᕐᔪᐊᕐᒥ ᑕᑯᓐᓇᕐᓂᕆᔭᖏᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐱᖁᔭᖏᑦ ᑭᒡᒐᑐᖅᑕᐅᑦᓯᐊᐊᓗᐊᕐᒪᖔᑕ ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᓯᒪᔪᐃᑦ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᐊᐅᓚᔾᔭᒋᐊᕈᑎᒋᓯᒪᔭᖏᑎᒍᓯᒋᐊᕈᑎᖃᕐᓂᖅ ᐊᐅᓚᑦᓯᓂᕐᒥ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᐊᑐᐊᒐᓕᐅᕈᑎᖃᕐᓂᕐᒥ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᕆᔭᖓᓂ. ᐱᔭᐅᖃᓯᐅᑎᒍᒪᒻᒥᔪᖅ ᑕᒪᑐᒪᓂ ᑐᕌᒐᕆᔭᐅᔪᒥ ᑲᔪᖏᖅᑐᖅᑕᐅᓗᑎᑦ ᐊᓯᖏᑦ ᐊᕙᑎᓕᕆᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᑎᒥᐅᔪᑦ ᒐᕙᒪᐅᔪᓪᓗ ᑕᐃᒫᑦᓴᐃᓐᓇᒐᓚᒃ ᐱᓇᓱᐊᕈᑎᖃᕐᓗᑎᑦ. 
  3. ᓴᙱᓕᕆᐊᖅᑕᐅᓗᑎᑦ ᐱᓇᓱᐊᖃᑎᒌᓐᓂᕆᔭᖏᖅ ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᓯᒪᔪᐃᑦ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᐊᐅᓚᔾᔭᒋᐊᕈᑎᖏᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑐᑦ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᓄᓇᖓᓐᓂ. 


Recognizing the unique geopolitical landscapes, specific histories and diverse cultures that shape Inuit globally, as articulated by Kuakkanen (2007), this study is deliberately focused within Canada. It’s important to note that the Canadian context differs from that of Scandinavia or Greenland, and these distinctions play a crucial role in shaping the understanding of self-determination across various regions. 

As the only Indigenous-led climate action organization in Canada, ICA bears the responsibility of facilitating meaningful engagement with our kin in the development of our organization offerings so we do not risk mimicking functions of a pan-Indigenous approach to the development of knowledge. Moving away from a Eurocentric discourse and towards one that is rooted in reclaiming, re-storying and researching from our own distinct ways of knowing allows us to nurture and further instill Indigenous worldviews. 

Therefore, we have conducted this research using an Indigenous resurgence paradigm. As Cherokee scholar Jeff Corntassel (2021) suggests, an Indigenous resurgence paradigm reframes colonization by shifting focus away from the State, and instead towards the relationships between Indigenous nationhood, placed-based, and community-centred practices that work to revitalize acts of renewal and regeneration. There is no one approach to resurgence, it is constantly being reimagined and reinvisioned dependent on contextually grounded Indigenous landscapes and seascapes. However, Cherokee scholar Jeff Corntassel points to four interrelated elements that stand out from past resurgent mobilizations and emerging literature (Corntassel 2021, p. 74): 

  1. Centering Indigenous nationhood and land/water-based governance; 
  2. Honoring and practicing relational responsibilities, which form the basis for Indigenous self-determining authority; 
  3. Turning away from the state and decentering the politics of recognition, heteropatriarchy, and settler colonialism; 
  4. Engaging in everyday acts of renewal, remembering, and regeneration.

Our selection of methodology is rooted in the understanding that the need for strategies that are contextually grounded in Inuit ways of knowing cannot be understated. Where are the various sites where we might develop relationships with people or places in the search for knowledge? What do contextually grounded methods of knowledge production look like? These are some of the questions we ask ourselves in the application of an Indigenous resurgence paradigm. 

During this case study, we embarked on a critical analysis of existing literature that is focused on Inuit approaches to climate change. We engaged with a range of sources to develop this understanding, including:

  • federal policies, 
  • Inuit representational organizations, 
  • community practices, and cultural teachings.

In alignment with an Indigenous resurgence paradigm, we largely sought literature focused on relationships between nationhood, placed-based relationships and community centred practices. Geographic application of the literature was Canadian-focused; however, we recognize that organizations like Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), an international non-governmental organization representing Inuit of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Russia are in service of Inuit on an international scale. 

Additionally, we interviewed Inuk participants who were familiar with ICA’s offerings in order to broaden our Decolonizing Climate Policy work towards ensuring that the rights, perspectives and approaches of Inuit are included and centred. Throughout this analysis, we looked for themes of how the climate crisis is described, the shortcomings of current policies, what values and relations should be emphasized moving forward, and proposed solutions.

Why current policy frameworks pose significant barriers to Inuit participation

The already dire climate crisis is compounded for Inuit living throughout Inuit Nunangat, which is comprised of four regions: Inuvialuit (Northwest Territories and Yukon), Nunavik (Northern Quebec), Nunatsiavut (Labrador) and Nunavut, due to its remote location, unique environmental conditions, and the enduring legacy of colonialism. As such, Inuit are facing exacerbated effects of climate change such as thawing permafrost, melting sea ice, and extreme weather. 

Canada’s federal climate policy framework continues to pose significant barriers to meaningful engagement of Inuit participation. To begin, the existing federal climate policy framework does not differentiate between northern and southern regions thus failing to create strategies to properly address climate change based on different geographic regions. This is echoed by Inuk woman, Bryanna Brown, who shares:

“The lack of understanding of how we are living life up in the North is really different from the South. So sometimes, a lot of things are not considered, even, for example, the issues that we have with infrastructure and permafrost, and how that causes difficulty with issues like plumbing and waste management. Or capacity issues in various departments and issues with food insecurity and how that impacts people and their ability to continue working (B. Brown, personal communication, April 4, 2024).”

A deeper understanding of the experiences of colonization and how it has manifested differently from Coast to Coast, as well as the subsequent impacts is necessary to support Inuit self-determination. Another evident barrier to meaningful engagement of Inuit participation in the existing federal framework is the tokenistic nature of engagement with Indigenous Peoples, where communities are often consulted as a formality rather than an equal partner in decision-making processes. For example, during the development of the Pan-Canadian Framework (PCF), there was a glaring absence of mechanisms to ensure that the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), ITK, and Metis National Council (MNC) could meaningfully gather input about the PCF Framework on behalf of the Indigenous peoples they are meant to represent (DCP, 2019). As Russel Diabo (2017) highlights, this oversight enabled Canada to mislead the public about the extent of Indigenous Peoples’ involvement and created a facade of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). 

Inuit are facing exacerbated effects of climate change such as thawing permafrost, melting sea ice, and extreme weather. 

Another glaring example can be seen in the case of the development of the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP), wherein the 2023 ERP Progress Report shared that Indigenous Peoples felt that engagement timelines in the 2030 ERP were inadequate and “highlighted the need for their early, meaningful and consistent involvement in federal climate policy and programming” (ERP Progress Report, p. 58).

A phenomenon known as “siloing” exacerbates these challenges by prioritizing engagement with Indigenous-led political organizations as opposed to grassroots and community-based ones, which further hinders the participation of Indigenous peoples by excluding vital perspectives. To learn more about existing barriers to Indigenous-led climate solutions, check out our recently released DCP Phase 2 Part 1

Indigenous Climate Action banner

A collective pathway for engagement in the pursuit of climate justice

Inuit have persistently advocated for the safeguarding of their homelands, waters, and livelihoods through various means including Inuit governance, community-based organizing, and grassroots direct action. This section will delve into these advocacy strategies employed across Inuit Nunangat and underscore the importance of ICA’s (and other ENGOs) proper engagement with these strategies. 

Inuit representational governance organizations have provided clear pathways and actionable steps to ensure inclusion of Inuit knowledge. In 2019, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami introduced the National Inuit Climate Change Strategy (NICCS) which sought to identify climate priorities across Inuit Nunangat. It provided a starting point for provincial and federal governments, international bodies, and non-governmental organizations to coordinate climate strategies within Inuit Nunangat. The goal was to shape climate policies at local, regional, national, and international levels, promoting Inuit-driven research, policy-making and actions through ethical partnerships that address the unique, pressing and diverse needs (ITK, 2019). 

The strategy highlights actions that focus on increasing accessibility of information through knowledge transfers for and with Inuit, and Inuit-led research. The five main priority areas identified for action are:

  1. “Advance Inuit capacity and knowledge use in climate decision-making.
  2. Improve linked Inuit and environmental health and wellness outcomes through integrated Inuit health, education and climate policies and initiatives.
  3. Reduce the vulnerability of Inuit and market food systems.
  4. Close the infrastructure gap with climate resilient new builds, retrofits to existing veils, and Inuit adaptations to changing natural infrastructure.
  5. Support regional and community-driven energy solutions leading to Inuit energy independence (ITK 2019, p. 19)”.

While not specifically focused on climate, in 2023, the Inuit Circumpolar Council, the national organization representing the rights and interests of Inuit living in so-called Canada, released The Circumpolar Inuit Protocols for Equitable and Ethical Engagement. This report outlines best practices for researchers, decision-makers and others who are interested in uplifting the interrelated, interdependent, and indivisible rights of Inuit. There are eight protocols:

  1. “Nothing About Us Without Us’ – Always Engage with Inuit
  2. Recognize Indigenous Knowledge in its Own Right
  3. Practice Good Governance
  4. Communicate with Intent
  5. Exercise Accountability – Building Trust
  6. Build Meaningful Partnerships
  7. Information, Data Sharing, Ownership and Permissions
  8. Equitably Fund Inuit Representation and Knowledge (ICC 2023, p. 14)”.

These protocols provide a collective pathway for engagement with Inuit in the pursuit of climate justice, calling for the federal government to approach engagement with the recognition that Inuit have a right to self-determination that must be respected within the context of any climate program, policy or service that is delivered in their territory (ITK, 2019). Furthermore, it highlights that the voices and perspectives of Inuit Elders, women, youth, children, and persons with disabilities must be centred in climate initiatives (ITK, 2019).

During our discussion together, Bryanna Brown highlighted the benefits of a unified front among Inuit representational organizations. Inuit representational organizations have cooperative mechanisms in place that Brown believes offer a promising avenue for effective climate policy integration, because they facilitate seemingly quicker decision-making processes (Personal Communication. April 4, 2024). 

However, quicker decision-making processes are not beneficial if they are not inclusive of all community voices, which is often the case in Crown-Inuit relationships where representation often just consists of affiliates from political organizations. One of the Inuit youth interviewed felt that inclusive engagement should extend beyond political organizations: 

 “The people that should be included are the ones that live in the community and experience the changes first hand. It’s not about who is there but who is not there at decision-making spaces” (M. Dicker, Personal Communication. April 5, 2024).

For instance, youth, who disproportionately bear the brunt of climate change, are often excluded from decision-making processes. Youth bring gifts, knowledge and insight that is vital to addressing the climate crisis. It is imperative that we empower them to be active participants. To do so, we must go beyond inviting them to the decision-making tables, and ensure that their perspectives are valued and implemented in subsequent actions. 

Grassroots and community organizers have vital perspectives because of their place-based nature. Establishing a connection to place is integral to truly understanding the impacts of the climate crisis: “If people aren’t experiencing something first hand, or don’t have a connection to a place…they’re not experiencing the same things. It could be easier to brush it off or just think like it’s happening (M. Dicker, Personal Communication. April 5, 2024).” 

Examining engagement strategies produced by Inuit representational organizations highlights the importance of ICA and other ENGOs employing inclusive approaches to engagement and decision-making. Complementing this policy review with interviews shows how it can be hard to ensure the right voices are being included in the engagement process, despite specific calls to prioritize perspectives of Inuit elders, women, children and youth in the ITK engagement strategy. By embracing the protocols while recognizing the barriers to their successful implementation, organizations like ICA can be more mindful about their engagement pathways to ensure they contribute to more effective and inclusive efforts towards Inuit-led climate justice. 

The path forward

The biggest threats to actualizing Indigenous-led climate solutions and land rights are ongoing systems of colonization, inadequate funding and supports, and a lack of dissemination of critical information directly to communities. Essentially, there is a failure to uphold free, prior, and informed consent by keeping communities disconnected and upholding processes of research done on our communities rather than by or for our communities. There is a clear information gap, lack of funding and access to decision-making spaces that leaves our communities in a deficit, which adds an overwhelming layer of complexity to advancing our solutions. 

The biggest threats to actualizing Indigenous-led climate solutions and land rights are ongoing systems of colonization, inadequate funding and supports, and a lack of dissemination of critical information directly to communities.

As outlined above, Inuit have taken the time to lay out the groundwork for us in how to effectively engage with Inuit on climate policy. We must respect and honour this work by engaging with it and applying it to our approach. 

The path forward for ICA in the inclusive representation of Inuit knowledge and worldview in our work requires that we do so through a contextually grounded approach. This requires recognition and respect of the unique socio-economic, geopolitical, cultural and historical factors they are faced with. It involves fostering inclusive engagement of Inuit at all levels, from all lived experiences. ICA has and plans to commit to this work through the following actions and initiatives: 

Actualize Inuit rights through increased knowledge development and sharing 

ICA is currently undergoing a revamp on their research methods and ethics process. This case study is a stepping stone for future work on better engagement processes with Inuit, and will inform DCP 3 and other relevant work.

Centre Inuit knowledge systems by continuing to centre best practices, include marginalized voices and counter misinformation

Research risks serving as a tool for advancing various forms of economic and cultural imperialism by shaping and endorsing unjust power relations (Smith, 2019). Indigenous knowledge is often seen as secondary to the perceived validity of Western knowledge, leading to its misappropriation and exploitation. This sentiment is often reflected in the engagement methods that facilitate researcher’s data collection. 

Indigenous knowledge is often seen as secondary to the perceived validity of Western knowledge, leading to its misappropriation and exploitation.

The legitimacy granted to policies by research underscores the importance of inclusive engagement in the research process. Adopting a contextually grounded approach to data collection includes adopting a contextually grounded approach to engagement, which means going beyond Western ideas of whose voices should be included. For policies to be tailored to local communities they must provide a comprehensive understanding of existing unique challenges and opportunities, which can only come from lived experience.

The process of centering Inuit knowledge systems also requires that we prioritize relations with the land. The structure of ICA’s Advisory Committee was intentionally made up of representatives from each of the five biomes. Biomes are characterized by their distinct climate conditions and unique combinations of biotic and abiotic features (DCP Phase 2: Part 1, 2023). Our inspiration was derived from our desire to incorporate Indigenous knowledges from different lands and their human and non-human communities. Throughout the colonial project, Indigenous Peoples were put into groupings that stripped us of our relationality to each other, to our non-human kin and to the land. Decision-making processes that draw from local community observations and efforts provide a more holistic understanding of the climate crisis. 

The process of centering Inuit knowledge systems also requires that we prioritize relations with the land.

Support Inuit in developing relevant and effective climate strategies beyond response-based and towards community-driven solutions

Evidently, there is a need for deeper analysis into the potential benefits of contextually grounded approaches to curbing the climate crisis. But the reality is that the funding mechanisms to support this work at the scale that is required are inadequate. Other ways this can be realized are by providing adequate resources and time for Inuit to meaningfully contribute, as well as supporting community-led solutions and local observations of the land.


Through an Indigenous resurgence paradigm, this case study sought to understand how ICA and other ENGOs can participate in and uphold appropriate engagement and representation of Inuit knowledge and worldview in climate policy. 

What we found is that this demands a comprehensive understanding of the unique factors shaping Inuit community, paired with a contextually grounded approach to policy development. By centering Inuit voices, ICA and other ENGOs, can contribute to more effective and inclusive efforts towards Inuit-led climate justice. 

The path forward involves a concerted effort to dismantle structural barriers and fostering inclusive engagement of Inuit at all levels, from all lived experiences. This study serves as a call to action for Indigenous Climate Action and other ENGOs alike, to strengthen their relationships with Inuit, uplift Inuit knowledge systems, and advocate for policies that are grounded in self-determination and notions of free, prior and informed consent.

References (click to expand)

Aporta, Claudio & Bishop, Breanna & Choi, Olivia & Wang, Weishan. (2020). Knowledge and Data: An Exploration of the Use of Inuit Knowledge in Decision Support Systems in Marine Management.

Canada. (2023). Emissions Reduction by 2030: 2023 Progress Report [Overview]. Retrieved from

Canada. (n.d.). Indigenous partnership on climate change. Retrieved from

Corntassel, J. (2021). Life Beyond the State: Regenerating Indigenous International Relations and Everyday. Challenges to Settler Colonialism. Vol. 2021 No. 1 (2021): The Politics of Indigeneity, Anarchist Praxis, and Decolonization.

Indigenous Climate Action. (2023). Decolonizing Climate Policy in Canada, Phase 1. Retrieved from

Indigenous Climate Action. (2023). Decolonizing Climate Policy: Phase 2, Part 1. Retrieved from 

Indigenous Climate Action. (2024). Decolonizing Climate Policy. Retrieved from

Indigenous Climate Action. (2024). Decolonizing Climate Policy: Phase 2 Part 2. Forthcoming.

Inuit Circumpolar Council. (n.d.). About ICC. Retrieved from

Inuit Circumpolar Council. (2022). Circumpolar Inuit Protocols for Equitable and Ethical Engagement. Retrieved from

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. (2019). National Inuit Climate Strategy. Retrieved from

Kuokkanen, R. (2007). Indigenous self-government in the Arctic: Assessing the scope and legitimacy in Nunavut, Greenland, and Sápmi.

Smith, L. T. (2019). Decolonizing Methodologies. Bloomsbury.
“What is FPIC?” n.d. Retrieved from,collective%20rights%20of%20their%20communities