Year(s) Funded: 2009-2010
Topic Area: Knowledge Sharing / Education
Title: Climate Change and Health – Linking our Past and Future through our Traditions and Culture: An Ethno-Botanical Resource Study to determine the Effects of Climate Change on Traditional Ecosystems
Action: The objective of the research initiative was to gain the participation of community Elders, adults and youth in wilderness based learning programs to teach about traditional medicinal plants and assess, record and document the impacts of climate change on these sample ecosystems. Phase I of the research included a wilderness trip to a remote fly-in lake with a group of 4 Elders and adult men. Phase II focused on promoting traditional medicine, building the school partnership and stakeholder dialogue. Phase III of the project focused on building climate change awareness through community workshops and participant interview surveys.
Results: The project faced many challenges gaining community participation, in particular from the Elders. The traditional medicine theme became the pivotal issue that brought up social-custom concerns among Elders. There proved to be too many unresolved matters related to customary teaching, commercialization, sacred plant use and protection of vulnerable areas with spiritual healing or ecological sensitivities. In addition, the timing of the project was set during a period of elevated social and political crisis in the community. This general mood of uncertainty and suspicion made gaining participation much more difficult.
While the projects was not successful in addressing the main objective, there were many important achievements from the research, including community involvement in different aspects of the project from the many workshops, school participation programs, capacity training, network development and supporting First Nation government strategies on climate change. The project was successful in the promotion of traditional medicine, building a school partnership and engaging in stakeholder dialogue. In addition the project built climate change awareness through community workshops and a participant interview survey.
Outputs: An article was contributed to the community newsletter highlighting some of the major project activities.