Indigenous Success Stories: Inuit

May 11, 2022


13 projects funded under Canada-Inuit Nunangat-United Kingdom Arctic Research Programme 2021-25

NationTalk: The CINUK Programme aims to increase understanding of and address the environmental, social, economic, cultural and engineering/infrastructure impacts of climate change in the Canadian Arctic.

The CINUK Programme partners and funders – Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI), POLAR Knowledge Canada, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), Parks Canada Agency, and Fonds de recherche du Québec – warmly welcome all the successful project teams.

The research being conducted by the successful projects over the three years of the CINUK Programme covers a wide range of important areas, including:

  • shipping,
  • wildlife health,
  • country foods,
  • ecosystem health,
  • safe travel,
  • search and rescue,
  • renewable energy,
  • community health,
  • coastal erosion,
  • plastics and pollution, and
  • much more

Notes to Editors:

  • Details of all the 13 successful projects can be found here:https://www.arctic.ac.uk/research/canada-inuit-nunangat-united-kingdom-arctic-research-programme-2021-2025-cinuk/
  • The research funded under the CINUK Programme focuses on changing Arctic ecosystems and the impacts to Inuit communities and beyond. It explores innovative and practical mitigation and adaptation mechanisms and technologies to enhance resilience to environmental change.
  • The total value of the combined funding available through the CINUK Programme is equivalent to £11.2m (GBP) or $18.2m (CAN). Funding is provided by UK Research and Innovation, Polar Knowledge Canada, National Research Council and Fonds de recherche du Québec. ‘In kind’ contributions are also being provided to many of the projects by the Canadian partners.
  • Details of the MOU announcement in May 2021 – https://www.canada.ca/en/polar-knowledge/news/2021/05/united-kingdom-canada-inuit-nunangat-and-arctic-region-research-programmewill-support-inuit-self-determination-in-research.html

April 20, 2022


Inuit Circumpolar Council

NationTalk: Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) Canada and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) are pleased to announce a collaboration project aimed at bringing greater awareness of circumpolar Inuit issues and the importance of Inuit globally in support of reconciliation. The project includes articles in Canadian Geographic magazine, public speaking events, educational materials and outreach, and a documentary film project.

“This is a very exciting project for Inuit,” said ICC Canada Vice-President (International) Lisa Koperqualuk. “Impacts in the circumpolar Arctic come from abroad, and to safeguard the Arctic, Inuit voices must be heard. Inuit are doing incredible things not only to combat climate change, but also and through our Indigenous knowledge and the preservation of our language we have much to offer our youth, Canada, and the world. RCGS is a great partner to help tell our stories. There are some fascinating links we all have together, so this collaboration has developed quite organically, and I am very happy we are announcing it today, and with the support of the Governor General of Canada.”

“Collaboration on Inuit, First Nations and Métis led initiatives to advance our own, and Canadians, understanding is key to realizing the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s strategic priority to advance Truth and Reconciliation across Canada.  I am proud to celebrate this collaboration with the Inuit Circumpolar Council of Canada,” said Charlene Bearhead, Director of Reconciliation, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.


March 15, 2022


Indigenous Knowledge component of the Climate Atlas of Canada

CBC – The Indigenous Knowledges component of the Climate Atlas of Canada, launched today, is the culmination of years of work by Hetxw’ms Gyetxw and the team at the University of Winnipeg’s Prairie Climate Centre, in collaboration with Indigenous communities across the country. 

The newly-launched feature provides information about the impacts of climate change on 634 First Nations communities and 53 Inuit communities, while also profiling projects surrounding climate change adaptation and mitigation across the Métis homeland. The map also shares videos from Indigenous elders and knowledge keepers, centring their knowledge as a resource. It highlights projects aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, such as the Cowessess First Nation wind-solar battery storage project in Saskatchewan, and community efforts to adapt to climate change, like the the  Métis wildland firefighters

Ian Mauro, Executive Director of the Prairie Climate Centre, who is not Indigenous, said it was important for him as a geographer to help put Indigenous communities on the map — literally in some cases — and work toward reconciliation. It’s a massive contribution from Indigenous communities to all of Canada … to think about a different way of approaching this hugely complex issue that is grounded in that millennia-old yet current and modern Indigenous wisdom,” he said.

The unique approach illustrates how Western or Eurocentric climate change science and Indigenous expertise can complement one another. It’s the embodiment of a concept sometimes called two-eyed seeing, which Hetxw’ms Gyetxw describes: 

“Through one eye you’re looking at the world through the Western sciences and the other eye you’re looking through traditional knowledges … you’re taking all perspectives and you’re seeing the world as it truly is, not just in one segmented way.”

Hetxw’ms Gyetxw said Indigenous knowledge is often stereotyped as only being about the past, or relegated to topics like hunting and fishing. He hopes this new tool will help Canadians see the bigger picture.

“Indigenous knowledge encompasses everything,” he said. “It encompasses the weather, it encompasses what things are going to look like in the future. We take into account the biology, the ecology, everything about our lands.”

mailto:https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/climate-change-climate-atlas-indigenous-knowledge-1.6384612


February 23, 2022


Imappivut Marine Planning Initiative

NationTalk – The Governments of Canada and Nunatsiavut sign Memorandum of Understanding to assess feasibility of establishing a new protected area along northern Labrador coast. The MOU confirms commitment to determine the feasibility of establishing an Indigenous protected area under the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act adjacent to Torngat Mountains National Park.

The signing of this MOU follows the 2017 signing of the Statement of Intent to advance the Imappivut Marine Planning Initiative of the Nunatsiavut Government. The study area is 14,906 square kilometres – or three times larger than Prince Edward Island – and is located in the coastal waters adjacent to Torngat Mountains National Park. An Indigenous protected area will conserve a portion of the Labrador Shelf Marine Region, which will increase connectivity and protect the fjords that extend into Torngat Mountains National Park. These areas are critical to the many species that thrive in this region, including beluga whales, seals, breeding and migrating seabirds and waterfowl, and a variety of fish. The MOU confirms the proposed study area boundary as well as the topics to be assessed and the consultations to be undertaken during the feasibility assessment.

In addition to conserving biodiversity, protecting these ecosystems in northern Labrador will contribute to the vitality of Inuit culture and traditions and the well-being of Labrador Inuit, who have been stewards of this region since time immemorial. Labrador Inuit have extensive knowledge of the land, water and sea ice in this area and are sustained, to this day, by its wildlife. Inuit knowledge, coupled with science, will be used as the foundation for the feasibility assessment of the Indigenous protected area.

“Labrador Inuit culture, knowledge, livelihood and health is directly connected to the ocean. The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Canada is another important step in managing the waters off our coast. We look forward to continued progress towards establishing an Indigenous protected area, and in safeguarding Labrador Inuit culture and identity, as well as the fish and animals that we rely on for food.”

Johannes Lampe
President of Nunatsiavut

https://nationtalk.ca/story/the-governments-of-canada-and-nunatsiavut-sign-memorandum-of-understanding-to-assess-feasibility-of-establishing-a-new-protected-area-along-northern-labrador-coast


February 11, 2022


Inuvialuit Regional Corporation: Climate Change Strategy

Inuvialuit Regional Corporation – has released its “Climate Change Strategy” summarizing a wide range of environmental impacts facing the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and providing its plan for community focused policy actions across six thematic areas: 

  1. Food Security Wellness
    • Strengthen ISR food and wellness systems through supports and adaptations that recognize climate change. 
  2. Safety 
    • Develop mechanisms to ensure travel across ISR lands and waters are safe. 
  3. Housing and Infrastructure
    • Advance the development of climate change resilient infrastructure. 
  4. Education and Awareness
    • Advance greater accessibility to climate change information and local knowledge for all communities within the ISR. 
  5. Ecosystem Sustainability
    • Protect and conserve our natural heritage for present and future generations. 
  6. Energy
    • Promote increased energy security within ISR communities.

The Climate Change Strategy outlines specific actions that are in alignment with the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami’s (ITK) “National Inuit Climate Change Strategy (2019)” that contains five priority areas where integrated approaches and coordinated actions with partners are necessary to meet pressing climate change adaptation, mitigation and resilience building needs across Inuit Nunangat. 

The five priority areas are: 

  1. Knowledge and Capacity; 
  2. Health, 
  3. Well-being and the Environment;
  4. Food Systems; 
  5. Infrastructure; and Energy. 

July 8, 2021


Nunavut Draft Land Use Plan

The Nunavut Planning Commission (NPC) – has released an updated 2021 Draft Land Use Plan which is the largest of its kind in the world and covers one-fifth of Canada’s land mass, representing some 2.1 million square kilometres of land and water. This latest Nunavut Draft Land Use Plan (NDLUP) is the result of extensive consultation and engagement with Inuit, their communities, Inuit organizations, federal and territorial governments, environmental and wildlife organizations, and industry groups.

The 2021 Nunavut Draft Land Use Plan sets out guidelines for the use and responsible development of resources in the Nunavut Settlement Area and is also designed to:

  • Protect critical wildlife habitat for caribou, migratory birds, walrus, polar bear, and whales that are under threat because of climate change and other factors;
  • Identify priority community areas of interest;
  • Support economic development opportunities including the Manitoba – Kivalliq infrastructure corridor;
  • Provide for grandfathering of existing mineral rights; and
  • Provide certainty for landowners and users about where and when projects and economic activities can take place. The NPC has received funding of $2.5 million from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to hold an additional round of public hearings in the Kivalliq and Kitikmeot regions to gather more public feedback on the draft plan before it is submitted for approval.

“The Nunavut Draft Land-Use Plan is a living document which guides and directs us into the future by establishing land use policies and designations that promote conservation, economic development and the health and wellness of residents,” said NPC Executive Director Sharon Ehaloak. “The Commission is pleased to receive this funding to ensure that we get it right and our plan reflects the history and culture of Nunavut and its people.”

The 2021 Draft Land Use Plan and a backgrounder can be found at:
https://www.nunavut.ca/news/2021/latest-news-its-here-updated-2021-nunavut-draft-land-use-plan-has-been-released-draft-plan


January 6, 2021


Establishing an Inuit government in Nunavik

NationTalk – Makivik Corporation has been leading a process to develop a self-determination process for the region. It has been in discussions with the government of Canada, based on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed in June, 2019. The Chief Negotiator, Lisa Koperqualuk, along with Makivik President Charlie Watt held thorough community consultations in each Nunavik community during the months of November and December 2020. This consultation process has revealed strong support for the mandate to develop a Nunavik Inuit Government.

As a result, Makivik President Charlie Watt declared, “We will not take part in any agreements on land usage that bind our Inuit negotiators. Politically, Quebec’s announcement on the protected area will not work at this time.”

Makivik’s Vice-President, Department of Environment, Wildlife and Research, Adamie Delisle-Alaku added, “Yes we did participate in this process, however we are informing Quebec that at this time, we are in a comprehensive, Nunavik-wide consultation process on the development of our new Nunavik government. As a result, we will not sign any such agreement regarding expanding the protected areas in Nunavik.”
The process to develop a new government in the Nunavik region builds on years of collective discussions, and several “All Organization” meetings bringing Nunavik organizations together for intensive weeklong consultations. Meetings have included reviewing a draft Nunavik Constitution and adopting resolutions in support of establishing an Inuit Government in Nunavik based on Inuit values, culture and language.


November 24, 2020


Innu Nation Boat Volunteer Pilot program

Sheshatshiu and Natuashish, Newfoundland and Labrador – Through the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada is working in partnership with Indigenous coastal communities to improve marine safety and responsible shipping to protect Canada’s marine environment. As part of this $1.5 billion plan, in 2017 the Canadian Coast Guard launched the Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program. Under this program, communities are provided with funding to purchase boats and equipment to enhance their marine safety capacity as members of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Today, under year three of the program, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, announced $461,298 for the Innu Nation communities of Sheshatshiu and Natuashish to purchase a search and rescue boat for each community, as well as related equipment.
The Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program is a four-year pilot program, which began in 2017. Coast Guard continues conversations with coastal Indigenous communities to identify those that are interested in participating in the future.


August 1, 2019


Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area

Parks Canada – Inuit Impact Benefit Agreement signed by the Government of Canada and Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) is a major step toward completion of Canada’s largest national marine conservation area at the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage, and represents decades of work by Inuit to safeguard a culturally significant region crucial to their subsistence way of life.

The Agreement will protect more than 109,000 square kilometres of biologically rich Arctic waters. The new national marine conservation area will be co-managed by Parks Canada and Inuit under the agreement. An Inuit advisory board will be established to oversee Tallurutiup Imanga. Ottawa will also invest $190 million in the broader region to support new infrastructure, like small craft harbours, and employment opportunities, including an Inuit stewardship program, for the five Nunavut communities bordering the national marine park.
Inuit Qauijimajatuqangit (Khao-yee-muh-yah-tut-khanggeet) or IQ, also referred to as Inuit traditional knowledge, is a source of information based on historical and/or current observations by Inuit which has been passed on orally over several lifetimes.

A large portion of IQ is tied to harvesting and the environment, but it is also directly linked to local socio-economics and cultural practices of Inuit.
https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/amnc-nmca/cnamnc-cnnmca/tallurutiup-imanga


July 31, 2019


Biodiversity highest on Indigenous Managed Lands

UBC News – More than one million plant and animal species worldwide are facing extinction, according to a recent United Nations report. Now, a new UBC-led study suggests that Indigenous-managed lands may play a critical role in helping species survive. The researchers analyzed land and species data from Australia, Brazil and Canada – three of the world’s biggest countries – and found that the total numbers of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles were the highest on lands managed or co-managed by Indigenous communities.

The study, which focused on 15,621 geographical areas in Canada, Brazil and Australia, also found that the size of an area and its geographical location did not affect species diversity. “This suggests that it’s the land-management practices of many Indigenous communities that are keeping species numbers high,” said lead author Richard Schuster, the Liber Ero Postdoctoral Fellow at Carleton University, who undertook the research while at UBC. “Going forward, collaborating with Indigenous land stewards will likely be essential in ensuring that species survive and thrive.”

“Indigenous-managed lands represent an important repository of biodiversity in three of the largest countries on Earth, and Indigenous peoples currently manage or have tenure to roughly one-quarter of the planet’s land area,” said co-author Nick Reo, an associate professor of environmental studies and Native American studies at Dartmouth College and a citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario tribe of Chippewa Indians.
“In light of this, collaborating with Indigenous governments, communities and organizations can help to conserve biodiversity as well as support Indigenous rights to land, sustainable resource use and well-being.”
https://news.ubc.ca/2019/07/31/biodiversity-highest-on-indigenous-managed-lands/


June 7, 2019


National Inuit Climate Change Strategy (NICCS)

Inuvialuit Regional Corporation – NICCS is an Inuit-led response to the global climate crisis. It is accompanied by first-year implementation funding of $1 million from the Government of Canada.

It calls for coordinated climate policy and decision making that improves Inuit quality of life rather than adding to the socio-economic inequities Inuit already face, and is inclusive of Inuit as rights holders and knowledge holders. It asserts that for climate actions to be effective, appropriate, equitable and sustainable for Inuit Nunangat, they must be in line with the collective Inuit vision for building the sustainability, prosperity and wellbeing of Inuit Nunangat.

The NICCS is built on a foundation of five interconnected priority actions:

  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 climate vulnerability of Inuit and market food systems
  4. Close the infrastructure gap with climate resilient new builds, retrofits to existing builds, and Inuit adaptations to changing natural infrastructure
  5. Support regional and community-driven energy solutions leading to Inuit energy independence

Each priority is reinforced by a number of collaborative actions that are practical and achievable within the next three years with appropriate partnerships between Inuit, federal, provincial and territorial governments, and groups including professional organizations, industry and the academic community.


February 28, 2018


Indigenous Conservation Areas

Globe and Mail – Examples of partnerships by Parks Canada and indigenous groups to manage conservation efforts of National Parks in line with indigenous beliefs, traditions and cultural practices. The $1.3B investment over five years from the Federal Government in Budget 2018 to be used to protect species at risk and to implement broad recovery plans. That will pay for the expansion of national wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries, as well as the management of protected areas and national parks. This includes a $500-million Nature Fund that Ottawa says will pair with matching funds from provinces, corporations and not-for-profit organizations to buy private lands, to support provincial and territorial conservation efforts, and to build the capacity of Indigenous people to conserve lands and species.

Conservation Agreements

  • In 2015, the Thaidene Nene national-park reserve was proposed in a 14,000-square-kilometre swath of boreal forest and tundra on the eastern end of Great Slave Lake. It is co-managed by the Dene who are sharing their cultural heritage with visitors while protecting a vast area of the country’s northern wilderness.
  • The 9,700-square-kilometre Torngat Mountains National Park in Labrador is being co-managed by Inuit, the staff is Inuit and the Inuit are protecting the endangered caribou herds.
  • And, in Gwaii Haanas National Marine Park Reserve on Canada’s west coast, young Haida people who are part of an Indigenous Guardians Program are protecting the region but also introducing people to their culture and their connection with the land.

September 29, 2017


Imappivut “Our Waters” initiative

CISION – Today, the governments of Canada and Nunatsiavut signed a Statement of Intent committing to a partnership to manage the ocean around northern Labrador, an integral part of Inuit Nunangat. This is a historic commitment, and one that will ensure protection for future generations of Inuit. The two governments are advancing the ‘Imappivut’ initiative – which means ‘Our Waters’ – put forward by the Nunatsiavut Government.
Crucially, this initiative supports collaborative management, which includes the creation and co-management of marine protected areas. Moving forward, the Federal and Nunatsiavut Governments will work with local communities and with the provincial government to potentially protect a stretch of coastline longer than the State of California.

“The Imappivut initiative is about recognizing Labrador Inuit connection, knowledge and rights to our ocean. It is about respecting our history and current needs by partnering with the Government of Canada to develop a management plan that ultimately improves the lives of those who depend on the water and the ecosystem itself. We look forward to starting this process by gathering information from Nunatsiavummiut for the management plan and working with the Government of Canada and other stakeholders to realize the expectations and interests that Labrador Inuit have for how the ocean is managed.”
Johannes Lampe, President, Nunatsiavut Government


January 1, 1970


The Arctic Council: Indigenous Permanent Participants

The Arctic Council website – Founded in Canada in 1996, the Arctic Council – Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States with six Indigenous Permanent Participant Organizations – focuses on issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic. The category of Permanent Participant was created to provide for active participation and full consultation with the Arctic indigenous peoples within the Council.

The Permanent Participants include:

  • the Aleut International Association,
  • the Arctic Athabaskan Council,
  • Gwich’in Council International,
  • the Inuit Circumpolar Council,
  • Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North and
  • the Saami Council.

The six Working Groups of the Arctic Council are:

  • ACAP (Arctic Contaminants Action Program)
  • AMAP (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme)
  • CAFF (Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna)
  • EPPR (Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response)
  • PAME (Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment)
  • SDWG (Sustainable Development Working Group)