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Canada’s climate adaptation plan gives a nod to Indigenous knowledge as wildfires burn – National Observer

June 30th 2023

Indigenous communities remain on the front lines of the climate crisis, suffering the worst effects of climate disaster and tragedy.

Take the current wildfire season: earlier this week, there were over 6,000 Indigenous people evacuated due to wildfires, with 17 First Nations impacted by one of the worst wildfire seasons on record, according to Indigenous Services Canada. On Thursday, those numbers dropped to 3,732 evacuees, with 10 First Nations impacted, mostly in remote, rural areas.

Indigenous communities represent only five per cent of the population in Canada, and yet they represent 42 per cent of wildland fire evacuations, according to Ottawa’s National Adaptation Strategy, an action plan that addresses worsening climate outcomes alongside the provinces, territories and Indigenous partners.

Colonialism has historically curtailed and even criminalized Indigenous fire stewardship. Now, through the adaptation strategy, Ottawa says it is committed to several fundamental initiatives that may invest in Indigenous knowledge systems like fire stewardship.

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