Are you interested in monitoring and documenting the effects of climate change in your community? Would you like to connect with and learn from other communities taking on similar projects? If so, look no further – the Indigenous Climate Monitoring Toolkit is a brand new resource created by Indigenous communities, for Indigenous communities.

Climate change is impacting Indigenous communities and ways of life across the country. Concerns range from food security and health impacts to issues with transportation, infrastructure damage from wildfires, flooding, permafrost degradation, and coastal erosion.

The Toolkit was developed to support Indigenous Peoples in Canada with planning, implementing, or expanding community-based climate monitoring projects. Communities use the data and knowledge collected to inform their adaptation planning and other decision-making.


The Toolkit includes stories shared through the eyes of those leading community-based monitoring projects, providing inspiration and guidance in hopes of encouraging others to pursue their own initiatives. Here are summaries of some of the stories to date:

Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation’s Wakâ Mne – Science and Culture Initiative

Does your community want to set up its own climate monitoring station? Click on Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation’s story to learn about their initiative to monitor climate, water quality, and greenhouse gas fluxes. Also, read about their efforts to document, archive, and share traditional knowledge to empower Indigenous culture to inform future strategies aimed at climate change adaptation and mitigation. Check out their informative video series and guides on setting up a climate station.

Young Hunters Program and Climate Monitoring

Are you interested in learning how to engage youth in climate monitoring? Click on the Aqqiumavvik Society’s story to learn about their Young Hunters Program. This food security initiative aims to teach kids traditional hunting practices and Inuit values and beliefs around environmental stewardship. More recently, it has incorporated monitoring aspects such as tracking changes to animals, weather, and the environment. Participants in the program gain skills and knowledge through time spent with experienced Elders and instructors by engaging in local hunting and monitoring activities. Check out their Young Hunters Manual to learn more about their program and their Community Climate Change Manual to help you implement climate change initiatives within your community.

Dehcho AAROM: Indigenous-led Monitoring and Stewardship

Are you concerned about the impacts of climate change on water quality and fish? Click on Dehcho First Nations’ story to learn how their Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management (AAROM) Program has created a regionally administered, community-based monitoring initiative. This story covers the importance of partnerships to increase funding opportunities and capacity, practical tips on data management and field work, and the opportunities and benefits of developing a successful community-based monitoring program. Check out their hands-on case studies and water quality monitoring videos.

Discover More

Beyond providing you with stories from leading community-based monitoring projects, the Toolkit provides an easy to navigate Resources tab equipping you with links to key resources related to climate monitoring and adaptation, as well as a Steps tab with step-by-step guidance to plan, design, and implement your project.

In addition, check out the interactive map to see some of the Indigenous-led climate monitoring related projects that have taken place or are ongoing across Canada.

Visit the Toolkit today to get inspired, start your own project journey, or share your own story and resources with your peers.


By First Peoples Group and the Indigenous Community-Based Climate Monitoring Program at Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada


(Photo credit – header photo: Lesly Derksen, Unsplash)

Indigenous-owned solar energy projects are contributing to meeting a net-zero carbon emission target while building the self-sufficiency of their communities. Becoming energy sovereign, requires a community to build their “ability… to control, regulate and manage their own energy.”  Solar power is among the cheapest forms of renewable energy and the Pembina Institute reports that from 2015 to 2020, renewable energy projects in Canada, nearly doubled across remote communities.

Launched on November 17, 2020, the 2.2-megawatt (MW) Three Nation energy (3NE) solar farm in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, is owned by Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Mikisew Cree First Nation, and Fort Chipewyan Métis Association. It is reported that the 3NE solar farm and ATCO’s 600-kilowatt (KW) solar farm and “a battery storage system will reduce the need for more than 800,000 litres of diesel fuel each year.” Together, these solar projects are “the largest remote solar farm in Canada” found northwest of the Alberta’s oil sands.

With the Arctic warming three times faster than the rest of the planet, Inuit communities have become leaders in tackling climate change by engaging in renewable energy projects, including harnessing solar power. Vuntut Gwitch’in First Nation located in Yukon,  is one of the first Indigenous communities in Canada to declare a climate emergency. The community has set a goal to reach net-zero carbon emission by 2030, which is 20 years ahead of the Canadian federal government’s commitment to net-zero carbon emission by 2050. The Old Crow Solar Project of Vuntut Gwitch’in First Nation consists of 2,160 solar panels to maximize the capture of the sun’s rays during long summer days. Vuntut Gwitch’in First Nation holds a 25-year electricity purchase agreement with ATCO Electric Yukon. The energy that is generated by the Old Crow Solar Project will be bought at a similar cost to diesel. According to Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation., over $410,000 is returned to the community through the electricity purchase agreement, and can then be reinvested in additional renewable energy projects.

More examples of First Nation communities who are leaders in generating solar power and who are actively contributing to the effort to reach net-zero carbon emissions include:

More solar projects are in the works in British Columbia, including a new solar project on the Upper Nicola Band Reserve in collaboration with the Okanagan Nation Alliance and FortisBC.

Through their diverse solar energy projects contribute, Indigenous peoples are minimizing their communities’ dependency on fossil fuels, especially diesel, while becoming energy sovereign.


By Leela Viswanathan


(Image credit: Nuno Marques, Unsplash)

A recent study by researchers at the University of Waterloo examines flood risk as a climate change effect and its complex connection to socio-economic and population factors (or “social vulnerability”) in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Canada. The study concludes that while the percentage of Indigenous and non-Indigenous residences exposed to flood hazards is roughly the same, the numerous challenges facing Indigenous communities, as an impact of land dispossession and colonization, means “the overall risk of Indigenous communities is higher.”

The peer-reviewed study compares “flood risk between Indigenous communities on 985 reserve lands and other Canadian communities across 3701 census subdivisions” and integrates an analysis of “socio-economic, demographic, ethnic, and cultural characteristics.” Eighty-one percent of the Indigenous communities in the study were exposed to flood hazards which would impact either their land and residences or the overall population.

Typically, flood hazards are categorized as primary, secondary, or tertiary. Primary hazards are associated with flooding where there is direct contact with water (e.g., erosion of soil, buildings, and other infrastructure; water damage to buildings; flooding of farmlands resulting in crop loss; human and animal drownings). Secondary flood hazards are the result of the primary hazards and can include toxic pollutants released by garbage and backed-up debris in sewage drains (i.e., the debris being a primary effect), as well as numerous health effects and service disruptions. Tertiary flood hazards are the long-term effects of primary and secondary flood hazards.


By Leela Viswanathan


(Photo credit: Justin Wilkens, Unsplash)