Indigenous Perspectives Program
Sharing Indigenous responses to climate change
The annual Indigenous Perspectives series is a partnership program with the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources that aims to amplify the voices and expertise of Indigenous researchers, Knowledge Holders, and writers in the climate policy space. Every year we publish a series of new case studies and feature the authors in a live virtual roundtable, attended by a diverse audience from across Canada that includes government, industry, non-profits, academics, and community members.
The program started in the fall of 2021 as part of the Climate Institute’s efforts to advance and support the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action and the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Using a case study and mentorship model, it seeks to profile Indigenous-led research in climate policy successes, barriers, and lessons learned through responding to climate impacts, efforts to limit further warming, and participation in the global energy transition.
Case studies showcase research related to one of four different subject areas: adaptation, clean growth, mitigation, or an integration of all three. Within these four areas, Indigenous researchers explore different topics such as Indigenous governance models that can inform climate policy, decolonized assessments of climate policy frameworks, renewable energy generation in remote Indigenous communities, and intersectional climate change policy (e.g. racism and climate change, food sovereignty, food security, biodiversity and climate research).
The program’s mentorship model aims to support and highlight Indigenous leadership in climate research, policy design, and implementation in a good way. Mentors support case study authors throughout their writing journey. We root the program in the idea of two-eyed seeing, a concept created by Albert Marshall, a respected Mi’kmaq Elder. In Marshall’s words “Two-Eyed Seeing refers to learning to see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous ways of knowing and from the other eye with the strengths of Western ways of knowing and to using both of these eyes together” (Bartlett, Marshall, & Marshall, 2012, p. 335).
2023 case studies
This year’s case studies showcase the work of Indigenous researchers, Knowledge Holders, water protectors, and community members. The authors highlight how Indigenous self-determination and knowledge are integral to designing effective climate policies.
The power of Acimowin (Storytelling) for climate change policy
Explore the power of story and the medicine wheel as a learning pedagogy and how Indigenous ways of knowing and being should inform adaptation and policy decisions.
Hope flows from action: Rebuilding with resilient foundations in B.C.’s Fraser Canyon Region
Policy approaches can help build—and rebuild—communities so they are resilient to the weather of today and tomorrow.
Community is the solution
The 2021 extreme heat emergency experience in urban, rural, and remote British Columbia First Nations.
2022 case studies
The Bagida’waad Alliance: Finding our way in the fog and charting a new course
Adapting to the impacts of climate change on the Great Lakes
A Two-Roads Approach to Co-Reclamation: Centring Indigenous voices and leadership in Canada’s energy transition
To adequately prepare for the energy transition, the oil and gas sector must reckon with the historic and ongoing impacts on the land and on Indigenous rights holders.
ʔuyaasiłaƛ n̓aas, or Something happened to the weather
Applying the wisdom of Indigenous place names in a changing climate—lessons from the Ahousaht First Nation’s Land Use Vision process
Gitxsan Rez-ilience: Understanding climate resilience as Naadahahlhakwhlinhl (interconnectedness)
This case study provides a foundation for a wider, more inclusive understanding of what it means to be resilient in an Indigenous context.
2021 case studies
Protecting Biocultural Heritage and Land Rights
How the W8banaki Nation is Adapting to Climate Change in Southern Quebec
Decolonizing Canada’s Climate Policy
The first step is to decolonize systems that exclude Indigenous rights holders, land protectors, and knowledge experts from the conversation.
The ‘Two-Eyed Seeing’ of Cross-Cultural Research Camps
Sahtú community-led approaches to climate change monitoring are building the knowledge and capacity needed for adaptation
Climate Change impacts on bees in Mi’kma’ki
Lessons from the Mi’kmaq Pollinator Project
Case Study: Ayookxw Responding to Climate Change
The Gitanyow are using both Indigenous knowledge and laws (Ayookxw) and western science to build a comprehensive understanding of the ecological health of our territory, and translating that knowledge into policies that respond to the impacts of climate change.
Case Study: Seed Sowing
Indigenous Relationship-Building as Processes of Environmental Action
Case Study: Unnatural Disasters
Colonialism, climate displacement, and Indigenous sovereignty in Siksika Nation’s disaster recovery efforts
In partnership with
Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources is Canada’s first Indigenous-directed environmental non-profit charitable organization. CIER was founded in 1995 by 10 First Nation Chiefs from across Canada. CIER supports Indigenous people and communities to be leaders of positive environmental change, using the best of Western and Indigenous knowledge to create a world that is in balance and supports the well-being of all living things. Since 1995, CIER has worked on 450 projects with over 300 Indigenous nations across Canada.