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The first Indigenous Community-Based Climate Monitoring Forum was held from March 28-30, 2019, on Treaty Four territory at First Nations University of Canada in Regina, SK. This forum, organized by Wicehtowak Limnos Consulting Services Ltd., was held in response to the enthusiastic feedback from many groups working with the Indigenous Community-Based Climate Monitoring Program offered through the Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada branch of the Government of Canada. This program offers funding opportunities for First Nations and Métis communities to establish baseline data, monitor trends in a variety of environmental measurements and increase environmental awareness under a changing climate.
Over 60 attendees participated in the forum, including First Nation and Métis representatives from across the prairie provinces, as well as government and university researchers. Each day began with a pipe ceremony in the First Nations University tipi, which was then followed by presentations and workshops with the aim to increase communication among communities and allow for the sharing of best practices, and the dissemination of challenges, successes, and milestones.
Given the diversity of climate-based concerns across such a wide geographical area, and the different world views of the participants, a wide range of topics were discussed. Workshops focussed on monitoring options for snow, ice, and permafrost, freshwater monitoring, weather stations, and wildlife and vegetation surveys. Beyond the technical component of how to measure, additional workshops were offered that addressed issues of community engagement, blending multiple ways of knowing, and engaging Indigenous youth in STEM.