Samson Cree Nation teamed up with Urban Systems to complete a Climate Change Action Plan.
The project was funded by $80,000 in grant proceeds from the Government of Alberta, through the Municipal Climate Action Centre’s Climate Resilience Capacity Building Program.
Samson Cree Nation (SCN) is actively addressing concerns for the environment and taking steps to safeguard traditional practices from the impacts of climate change. The Nation has already implemented a number of solar installations and completed several energy audits.
Building on existing work, the Climate Change Action Plan was completed to better understand how climate change has impacted Samson Cree Nation, and to identify areas where community members are observing the most changes in the environment. The scope of the Action Plan is centred around nipiy (water), a critical part of every community member’s lives.
The plan was informed by a balance of generational and traditional Indigenous knowledge with climate science, a collaborative, two-eyed seeing approach.
The Nation developed a climate change questionnaire and gathered information from Nation members on their lived experiences of climate impacts.
SCN and Urban Systems hosted a community workshop within the Nation to better understand how climate change impacts on the Nation’s water source and water infrastructure system influence the wellbeing of community members in SCN.
Activities also included a climate change wheel activity; a community mapping activity; and a hopes, dreams, and concerns activity.
Community members used a climate change wheel to place sticker on what they felt were the biggest causes, impacts, and solutions related to climate change.
During the community mapping activity, community members shared stories of how water has changed in the community and used a map of SCN to identify where they have noticed those changes.
Community members also shared what their hopes, dreams, and concerns are for the future of SCN, in the areas of infrastructure, economic development, environment, and more.
The action plan consolidates the input heard during the community engagement process into the four themes of water quality, water quantity, water stewardship, and environment.
With the information gathered from the workshops, the project team identified traditional locations that are significant to the Nation. By engaging with community members, the project team was able to create a road map of areas that have been highly affected by climate change, areas such as traditional gathering sites, hunting grounds, open bodies of water, and farmlands.
The plan identifies strategies across each of four themes to support the community in establishing a more resilient water network and strengthening the Nation’s ability to adapt to a changing climate.
The project team also developed a video showcasing the community engagement event.
With the uncertainty brought on by climate change, this project aims to reduce the knowledge gap around climate change and water systems and equip the Nation with strategies to address unpredictable future climate events and build resilience.
As the Nation looks to implement new programs and continue building awareness about climate change, the outcomes of this project will support the Nation with long-term planning and decision making.
The CRCB Program is a commendable undertaking that aligns perfectly with the urgent need to empower individuals with the knowledge, skills, and networks necessary to tackle the complex challenges posed by climate change.Louise Omeasoo, Samson Cree Nation Tribal Councillor