ICHAP Project Snapshots 2021

Lheidli T’enneh Nation member Konnor McIntosh investigates a unique stand of cedar trees as part of his climate change internship

Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness • Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs • Lheidli T'enneh First Nation • Saulteau First Nation • Southern Stl'atl'imx Health Society • Tobacco Plains • Tsleil-Waututh Nation • Tzeachten First Nation

​​​​​​​​About the Pro​​​jects

The Indigenous Climate Health Action Program (ICHAP) funds community-driven initiatives to address climate impacts on health and wellbeing for First Nations across BC. Projects can focus on climate health in general or on developing a strategy or action plan to reduce climate change impacts on community health.

The aim of the program is to strengthen community resilience in the face of a changing climate. By applying a flexible, community-centered approach and wholistic view of health and wellness, the program has been able to support a wide range of initiatives that address diverse climate health priorities across different communities.

This year's program runs from April 2021 to March 2022 and supports around 30 projects across the five BC health regions.

Scroll through the snapshots below to read about some of the good work that is underway this year.

Aboriginal Coalitio​​n to End Homelessness 

Strengthening Intergenerational Healing Communities on the Land to Promote Personal and Climate Resilience 

Description

What is the focus/purpose of this project? How will the project strengthen community resilience toward climate change impacts on health?

Through partaking in land-based climate health action events, we hope that participants will strengthen their relationship with the land, contribute to community resilience, develop a strong sense of purpose and feel empowered stepping into their roles as land stewards.

For those living in an urban environment with lived experience of homelessness, developing this reciprocal relationship supports healing of both person and place. We hope that the opportunities for engagement and knowledge transmission will position all of our people to lead strong, resilient lives grounded in a sense of cultural identity and to utilize their learnings to extend ongoing care to their territories throughout their lives. 

Through these land-based engagements the community will begin to reconnect with the land and their culture, developing their sense of land stewardship.

Restoring the cultural disruption among Indigenous relatives that experience homelessness will strengthen community resilience towards climate change by raising awareness about the methods of Indigenous climate resilience, initiating local dialogue about climate change and sharing ways to get involved.

By encouraging others to learn about Indigenous sustainability practices that directly influence individual and community wellbeing, we can transmit teachings to future generations and advocate for Indigenous practices that have ensured Vancouver Island's ecosystems survive and thrive.

Participants

Who is involved in the project?

Our project will bring together generations of Indigenous Peoples living across Vancouver Island in 'Healing Communities'. This includes Elders, Knowledge Keepers, environmental experts, the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness' (GVCEH) youth leadership team, staff and ACEH residents who have lived experience with homelessness.

Each event, day or multi-day, will be dedicated to a specific cohort and focus on their respective roles as land stewards. Cohorts for this project are Indigenous youth, women, residents at our Culturally Supportive House and residents in independent living. 

Activities

What are some of the main project activities?

As part of the project, there will be climate health action day events, as well as multi-day land-based camps. At each of these events, the focus will be on sharing bio-cultural knowledge intergenerationally through ceremony, sharing circles, cultural activities, food preparation and teachings.

To honor the traditional territory and cultures of Vancouver Island, Elders and Knowledge Keepers from the island's three tribal groups will share their teachings on practices and approaches to mitigate the impacts of climate change locally.

The activities aim to restore the connections that Indigenous Peoples have to culture and traditional knowledge. Whether done through ceremony, language sessions, prayer, medicine gathering, cleansing, sharing circles or other cultural activities, each event is determined by those who hold intimate connection with the land, and who know best how to protect and nurture it.

Gitanyow ​​Hereditary Chiefs 

Gitanyow Reconci​​liation Trail: Phase I

Descri​ption

What is the focus/purpose of this project? How will the project strengthen community resilience toward climate change impacts on health?

The focus of this project is building a cabin at Ginmihlgan Creek on Gamalakyeltxw Lax’yip, part of the longer-term process of revitalizing Gitanyow’s grease trail via the Gitanyow Reconciliation Trail project. This cabin is intended to serve as a prototype site for future cabins that will be along the trail. The trail and cabin system will allow for easier access to the Lax’yip (territories) by Wilp (house group) members. Access is critical for strengthening food security, cultural traditions and land stewardship, all which increase community resilience toward climate change impacts on health. 

Participa​nts

Who is involved in the project? 

This project is being led by Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs and supported by staff at the Learning Shop in Hazelton and Ecotrust Canada. 

Ac​tivities

What are some of the main project activities?

The project’s main activities include building the cabin and engaging youth in building and creating a short video to share the story of the Gitanyow Reconciliation Trail project.

Lheidli T'enneh First Nation

Internship in Education in Climate Change and Related Topics

Description

What is the focus/purpose of this project? How will the project strengthen community resilience toward climate change impacts on health?

The focus of this project is an internship where a member of the Lheidli T'enneh Nation (LTN) can learn from a variety of people about how climate change impacts what they do and some of the strategies for adapting to and mitigating climate change going forward.

The intern, Konnor, will also be sharing what he is learning back with the community through a presentation and creating information pamphlets that can be shared on social media and shared with the community.

Through the knowledge Konnor will gain, and the variety of opinions he will be exposed to, we hope to give him a head start on his post-secondary education and hope this internship gives him insight into various career paths. We know that wherever Konnor ends up with his career he will have a great understanding of climate change and how he can be a leader in adaption and mitigation.

Partici​​pants

Who is involved in the project?

The intern is Konnor McIntosh, a member of the Lheidli T'enneh Nation, who is keen and excited to learn about climate change and how it impacts the Territory.

LTN Environmental, Lheidli T'enneh's environmental consulting partnership, is Konnor's supervisor and aids in coordination with other mentorship partners. These partners include UNBC, BC Parks, FNHA, Aleza Lake research forest, Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) and the Lheidli T'enneh Nation.

Activi​ties

What are some of the main project activities?

The main activity is mentorship and education. This may happen several ways, through desktop research, discussions with professionals, hands-on learning in the field and conferences. Early on there was more time spent doing desktop research but as the summer has progressed Konnor has spent more time out in the field learning from professionals.   

Saulteau First ​Nation

Moberly Climate Health Action Plan

Description

What is the focus/purpose of this project? How will the project strengthen community resilience toward climate change impacts on health?

The purpose of the Moberly Climate Health Action Plan is to develop a strategy to guide Saulteau First Nations in preparing for and mitigating anticipated adverse human health and wellness impacts from climate change. It is related to a broader watershed management planning initiative in the Moberly Watershed, but with a focus specifically on protecting access to and quality of country foods and drinking water from climate change effects.

The project aims to answer two key questions:

  • What are the most important human health and wellness values that community members are most concerned about, in relation to future climate change effects in the Moberly Lake Watershed?
  • What strategies and actions will be most effective to prepare for and mitigate future climate impacts on health and wellness, and build community capacity and resilience to respond to these risks?

This project will contribute to improved community resilience by providing SFN leadership, staff and community members with the knowledge and skills to address the health impacts of climate change in their region.

It will increase SFN leaders' and community members' capacity for climate change and health planning, and provide a guide for SFN to address priority health concerns in their community.

It will also lead to new or improved programs to support climate change preparedness and inform other related initiatives (comprehensive community planning, caribou recovery efforts, watershed planning, and other community climate action planning currently underway).

Participants

Who is involved in the project?

The Moberly Climate Health Action Plan is led by a team of Saulteau First Nations (SFN) staff from the Treaty Rights and Environmental Protection Department and external consultants from Compass Resource Management, Ecofish Research and Bridgeway Consulting.  

Activities

What are some of the main project activities?

The planning process will consist of a literature review, preliminary modelling and assessment of climate effects, the development of the plan itself, and several rounds of community engagement throughout the process.

The project team will work with community members, staff, youth and Elders to identify priority hunting, fishing, gathering and camping areas that are vulnerable to climate change, to discuss and provide feedback on preliminary climate assessment findings, and to provide input to the development of the final action plan.

Southern Stl'atl'imx Health Society

Southern Stl'atl'imx Climate-Resilient Food Sovereignty Project

Description

What is the focus/purpose of this project? How will the project strengthen community resilience toward climate change impacts on health?

The main focus of this project is agricultural. The communities are located in remote areas where access to certain foods, including protein and fresh produce, can be a challenge. The project will enhance current food harvesting initiatives in light of anticipated climate change impacts and provide opportunities for Traditional Knowledge to be shared between Elders, families and youth.

By engaging youth in various agricultural endeavors the goal is to not only increase local food production and enhance food sovereignty for the communities, but to impact the way youth view their land and themselves as important stewards of the land.

This project also aims to support personal health and wellbeing by enabling participation in healthy physical activity and providing skill development, ranging from building garden structures or greenhouses to planting and harvesting crops. All of this gives youth an avenue to be seen (and see themselves) as positive contributors within their communities. 

It is hoped that this program will build resiliency by gaining traction for future increased agricultural production and programs as well as sustainable land use and enhancement and increase in healthy food consumption. 

Through various workshops, such as “Hugelkulture – Bulk and Personal Composting Strategies", it is hoped that participants will come away with deeper connections and interests to either enhance their own family gardens, participate in community or school gardens or at least support them.

Partici​​pants

Who is involved in the project?

This project is focused on engaging youth (12 to 19 years) from the four Stl'atl'imx communities of N'Quatqua, Samahquam, Skatin and Xa'xtsa (Douglas), located outside of Pemberton, BC. At least one adult in each community provides ongoing guidance and support throughout the project.

Activi​​ties

What are some of the main project activities?

Through the summer and fall, the main activities of the program are to assist in the building of two food storage buildings, to build a demonstrative Hugelkulture greenhouse in each community, to assist in the planting, growing and harvesting of vegetables in existing school and community gardens and to celebrate harvest time with community cooking demonstrations and events.

Weekly group work projects allow the youth to come together to develop their skills, share their thoughts and generally have a positive experience in a project-based hands-on type of learning. A healthy snack or meal also adds to the fun!

The second half of the project, through winter and spring, will focus on integrative workshops that tie in themes related to climate health and wellness through community and school-based events such as healthy cooking and storage of vegetables and climate health discussions and community sharing.

Tobacco ​​Plains 

Land-Based Wellness​​ Project

Descripti​on

What is the focus/purpose of this project? How will the project strengthen community resilience toward climate change impacts on health?

The focus of this project is for members to engage in supporting their wellness through connection or reconnection with land-based resources. The purpose is to support this connection, and then to identify potential climate threats to these resources.

It is hoped that as members identify climate threats to land-based resources that support their wellness, there will be motivation to examine strategies to minimize the negative effects of climate change in an effort to conserve and protect these resources.

Partici​​pa​​nts 

Who is involved in the project?

This project involves Tobacco Plains staff and community members. There are several opportunities for a member to be involved in different aspects of this project. Some members are sharing their stories and experiences of land-based wellness in the traditional territory, others are participating in land-based activities with their families, and others are participating in harvesting, crafting, preserving and sharing land-based resources.

Activi​​ties

What are some of the main project activities? 

Some of the main activities are:

  • Family wellness plans – families have identified land-based activities that support their wellness and are participating in these activities over the year. These plans are strength-driven and developed as a collaboration between members and wellness staff.
  • Land-based workshops and activities – community knowledge-holders are leading activities and workshops to demonstrate ways to preserve, use and participate in land-based activities that support wellness.
  • Share the Harvest – this activity encompasses sharing of knowledge, items produced or harvested locally, handmade items from land-based resources locally available. It is a community event.

  • Tobacco Plains

Tsleil-Waututh Nation

Climate Change and Community Health Impact Assessment and Resilience Plan

Descrip​tion

What is the focus/purpose of this project? How will the project strengthen community resilience toward climate change impacts on health?

The focus of this project is developing a Tsleil-Waututh Indigenous-based health assessment and adaptation framework that reflects local community health values, and can be used to more comprehensively assess community health impacts from climate change.

Over the course of the project we will strengthen our understanding and community awareness of TWN community health impacts and vulnerability to climate change, and identify opportunities to integrate and “mainstream" health-related adaptation measures into existing plans, and ongoing programs, projects and activities.

Particip​​ants

Who is involved in the project?

This initiative is co-led by the TWN Health and Wellness department and the TWN Treaty, Lands and Resources department with guidance and input from the TWN Climate Change Advisory Committee, which includes youth and Elders from the community.

The broader TWN community will be engaged throughout the project through a variety of online and in-community initiatives including surveys, social media posts and events, where possible.

Activities

What are some of the main project activities?

Assessing TWN community health and identifying trends and potential health risk projections in response to climate change and related environmental stressors.

Developing community-based health indicators to assess TWN community health vulnerability to climate change impacts.

Developing a set of proactive community health and well-being adaptation measures to build community capacity and resiliency to climate change.

Tzeachten First Nation

Community Greenhouse Project

Des​cription

What is the focus/purpose of this project? How will the project strengthen community resilience toward climate change impacts on health?

The purpose of the project is to improve our food security on reserve while teaching our community how fun and easy it is to grow your own food. This will strengthen the communities' resilience against climate change by allowing us to grow our own food in any climate, as well as lengthen our growing season where subtle changes in our regional climate may reduce our growing window.

As for community health, we plan to distribute all fresh produce to the community to ensure members have access to fresh locally grown produce.

Participa​nts

Who is involved in the project?

The project team includes Tzeachten First Nation staff and Councillor Loren Muth.

Activities

What are some of the main project activities?

So far, the main project activities include erecting the greenhouse (almost complete) and digging in the water and electrical lines. Additionally we've been in talks with QuantoTech about their vertical farming systems, which they would like to place in the greenhouse.

This is very exciting and would expand our ability to mass produce high-quality vegetables. ​

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Indigenous Climate Health Action Program