Yukon University and Champagne and Aishihik First Nations working together to assess impacts of climate change on Traditional Territory

Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN) and researchers at Yukon University are working in collaboration to address the effects of climate change thanks to a multi-year research project that will assess the vulnerability of the CAFN Traditional Territory to climate change and permafrost thaw.

Today, the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, announced $429,028 in funding for the project through the Climate Change Preparedness in the North Program. He was joined by CAFN Chief Steve Smith, Dr. Lesley Brown, President and Vice-Chancellor, Yukon University, and Dr. Brendan Hanley, Member of Parliament for Yukon, at an event at Yukon’s NorthLight Innovation Centre.

Led by Dr. Fabrice Calmels, Research Chair with YukonU Research Centre’s Permafrost and Geoscience research program, the project will study permafrost occurrence, characteristics, vulnerability to thaw, and the resulting impacts, based on priorities identified by the CAFN government. The Permafrost and Geoscience research program works closely with the community on research-based activities while learning about CAFN values, supporting cross-cultural awareness in research.

Permafrost thaw across the North and Arctic is destabilizing landscapes and infrastructure, affecting the health of lakes, rivers, fish, wildlife and traditional food sources. Data and results from this project will be available online through maps and storyboards to illustrate how the landscape potentially changes as permafrost thaws. This virtual platform will be accessible to community members and decision-makers and will help inform the planning and development of adaptive strategies.

The Government of Canada is investing in Indigenous-led and delivered solutions to help Indigenous and Northern communities adapt to the impacts of climate change in the North. The Climate Change Preparedness in the North Program supports Indigenous and northern communities and governments in increasing their capacity to adapt to climate change effects. Through community-led funding, the program helps build more climate-resilient communities across the North and Arctic.