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.

Program Overview

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). 

2024 case studies

This year’s roundtable is on Thursday, June 20 and will feature three new case studies exploring: 

  • Community-responsive policy development to support Indigenous climate adaptation movements and food sovereignty outcomes. Author: Nicole Davies.
  • Reflective strategies Inuit have used to ensure appropriate engagement and representation of their knowledge, laws, and worldviews in climate policy. Author: Alexa Metallic.
  • Decolonizing climate policy through ceremony based on research, collective experiences, and the findings from the B.C. Assembly of First Nations Spiritual Knowledge Keepers Gathering on Climate Change. Authors: Naqsmist—Jake RoggerChristopher DericksonMoe NadeauLydia Pengilley, Elaine Alec, Ryan Day.

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.

2022 case studies

2021 case studies

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.