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Indigenous research spotlighted in new federal report on climate change – University Affairs

APR 18 2022

Authors hope to increase awareness of the impact of climate change on Indigenous peoples’ health.

Last month, the federal government released a comprehensive study on how climate change is impacting the health of Canadians, which was the first of its kind since 2008. The report, “Health of Canadians in a Changing Climate,” is in many ways similar to its predecessor, but with one significant update: an entire chapter on climate change and the health of Indigenous peoples. Written by the National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health (NCCIH) at the University of Northern British Columbia, the chapter was more than two years in the making.

“It was really about making sure that our voices were heard and that we created space for the particular reality of Indigenous people in this country,” said Margo Greenwood, the academic leader of the NCCIH and one of the chapter’s authors, who is of Cree ancestry. That reality, for many Indigenous peoples, is a harsh one. First Nations, Inuit and Metis people experience a heavier burden of ill health compared to non-Indigenous people and face systemic inequities including overcrowded housing, poverty, food and water insecurity, and poor access to health care. Climate change exacerbates these inequities, as do past and current colonial policies and practices, disproportionately impacting the health of Indigenous peoples.

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