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Quick Access to Subsections:

1) Objectives

2) Partners

3) Tools envisioned to date

4) Examples of community climate initiatives

5) Documents related to the projet



The main objective of Acting on Climate Change: Indigenous Innovations is to forward cross-cultural learning on climate change mitigation and adaptation that makes meaningful progress towards Reconciliation in Canada, recognizing the leadership of Indigenous cultures with respect to sustainability as a key element of their relationship with the environment.

To reach this objective, there are three specific goals:

(1) Share Indigenous climate change and sustainability success stories in Canada with other Indigenous peoples and with Indigenous leaders.

(2) Inform the general Canadian public about Indigenous peoples’ leadership and innovation in climate and sustainability action.

(3) Use these success stories to inform policy recommendations to all other levels of government (federal, provincial/regional and municipal) to support culturally-relevant, evidence-based climate decision-making informed by Indigenous traditional knowledge.



The project is steered by Norma Kassi (co-Chair), Arctic Institute of Community-Based Research and Catherine Potvin (co-Chair), McGill University, as well as Catherine Béland, First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Sustainable Development Institute, Eli Enns, POLIS Project, and Tonio Sadik, Assembly of First Nations, under the auspices of the UNESCO-McGill Chair for Dialogues on Sustainability. The project coordinator is Divya Sharma, McGill University

Acting on Climate Change: Indigenous Innovations is a project of Dr. Potvin's Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Fellowship, awarded in 2016.


Tools envisioned to date:

(1) Database: We have begun documenting existing, inspiring Indigenous climate change and sustainability initiatives throughout Canada in a database that will be made publicly accessible via an interactive web tool. Some preliminary results:


Total InitiativesManagement Initiatives














Renewable Energy Projects Map 

(2) Climate Action Youth Ambassador Program: Recognizing the importance of training the next generation of Indigenous leaders, Indigenous Youth Ambassadors will be recruited and participate in a holistic training program focused on leadership, culture, jurisdiction, reconciliation and climate action as well as basic filmmaking and investigative journalism techniques. Our first training occurred in Western Canada in Summer 2017, with Northern Canada to follow in Fall 2017.

(3) The Indigenous Ingenuity exhibit developed by the Montreal Science Centre, a federal museum, is showcasing initiatives in the database from October 2017 to March 2018 in Montreal. The exhibit could travel across Canada over the next five years in two formats: large scale for cities and small scale for community centres. 

Interested in teaching kids about climate action in Canada? Help the Trickster save the polar bear by learning about Indigenous initiatives in climate change in Climate Tactics, an online game produced by the Science Centre, featuring 30 projects from our database! 


Examples of climate initiatives developed by communities and shared with Indigenous Innovations:


                                                                          T’Sou-ke Nation:                                                  Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources:                              

                                                         Canada’s first Indigenous solar community                            Youth engagement & two-eyed seeing                          

                                                          Tsouke Screenshot                         Unamaki Screenshot             


                                                                     Mohawk of Akwesasne:                                                       Innu of Mashteuiatsh:

                                                            Community planning for 7 generations                                  Regional partnership on mini hydro

                                                         Akwesasne Screenshot                           Mashteuiatsh Screenshot


If your Nation or community is taking action on climate change and wants to share its initiatives, contact Divya Sharma, Coordinator, Acting on Climate Change: Indigenous Innovations, at divya.sharma2{at} 


Documents related to project:                                                                    

Project concept note

Trudeau Fellowship proposal submitted

Letter of support for proposal from Assembly of First Nations

Letter of support for proposal from First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Sustainable Development Institute

Presentation at Centre for Indigenous Conservation and Development Alternatives

Letters of agreement for sharing information on communities available upon request.