Up North On Climate Conference

Northern First Nation Community Delegates, including many from the Matawa member First Nations, joined together with science, academic and environmental organizations, and government delegates from across Ontario, to discuss climate change. This conference, called the Up North On Climate Conference, was hosted in Thunder Bay, Ontario from April 24-26, 2018, lead by Laurentian University. Together with Nokiiwin Trible Council, Four Rivers assisted Laurentian University with conference logistics.

Speakers, panels, and workshops aimed to increase awareness and knowledge on topics such as:  What Elders say has happened to the land and the weather in their lifetime; What science says our children and grandchildren are likely to experience; Impacts of climate change on people, buildings and the land (peat, forests, lakes, rivers, fish, animals and birds); Adapting to flooding, wildfire, severe storms, shorter winter road seasons, and invading species; Food security and food production; and Engaging young people in understanding climate.

One of the conference highlights included the Community-Based Monitoring (CBM) workshop, hosted by the Wildlife Conservation Society of Canada (WCS). Cheryl Chetkiewicz, a Conservation Scientist with WCS, lead delegates through a workshop about the opportunities that CBM offers communities, through monitoring practices based on traditional knowledge (TK) as well as science. This workshop showcased the fundamentals of CBM monitoring such as determining the questions the monitoring program must answer, developing relevant TK indicators, consistent data collection and information entry, analysis and reporting.

On Wednesday April 25th, delegates welcomed Ovide Mercredi to the podium to give the gala dinner address. The final day’s agenda included a youth panel, which allowed the group to hear the perspectives and reflections from the next generation of leaders!

This conference was a successful way to connect, discuss, hear, share and learn! We look forward to carrying on the conversation!