AICBR Newsletter #5 (October 2017)

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It's been a busy summer! Just as the seasons are changing, we here at AICBR have also been experiencing transition - we sadly said farewell to our esteemed colleague and Co-Director Katelyn (see tribute below), we welcomed two new members of our team, our Youth Assistant, Roberta Wally and our Project and Communications Assistant, Anne Mease, and have been working hard on various projects that are on the go, including a big training session in late Novemver for developing Indigenous Community Climate Change Champions and a mapping project for Yukon/NWT Schools!!

We're excited to tell you all about it! 


We're Hiring!

Currently seeking a term, part-time Interim Executive Director to March 31, 2018

Want to join a dynamic team of passionate individuals working to build healthy communities and contribute in meaningful ways to bring northern knowledge to action?

This position will oversee the operations of AICBR. This includes:

  • Working closely with the outgoing Executive Director responsible for completing existing projects;
  • Research planning and management; operational planning and management; human resources planning; and financial planning and management;
  • Engagement and communication with community stakeholders


  • Minimum Master’s degree in health, social sciences, environmental sciences or related field and demonstrated experience working with Yukon First Nations communities and local, regional, and federal organizations.
  • Equivalent research and work experience and/or education may be considered.
  • Experience leading a non-profit organization in Canada’s North is a definite asset.
  • Position requires excellent communication, planning and organizational skills; strong critical thinking and problem solving skills; research experience; and experience managing staff and projects.


  • November 20, 2017 to March 31, 2018 (The position may be extended by mutual agreement and subject to funding).
  • 30 to 37.5 hours per week.  


  • $38-45/hour, commensurate with experience.
  • Application deadline: October 27, 2017
  • Please email resume and cover letter to

For additional information about AICBR please visit our website:



We are hosting a free, four-day training session for youth (aged 18-30 yrs old) and Renewable Resources Council members, November 27-30th. There is funding available to offset costs to participants. There will be follow-up training in Phase II of the project sometime in Summer 2018 (Date TBD). The training focuses on building up emerging, young leaders as climate change champions and developing their knowledge of climate change causes, effects and adaptation from both Indigenous and scientific perspectives. After the training, participants will be equipped with the knowledge, tools and resources for conducting a community assessment of their climate change priorities as well as the community-based research and leadership skills to develop projects that build on these priorities for community climate change action. 


 Attention all Yukon First Nations Youth! We're hosting a training to develop community climate change champions and are currently recruiting interested participants. Check out our  website  to learn more and apply!

Attention all Yukon First Nations Youth! We're hosting a training to develop community climate change champions and are currently recruiting interested participants. Check out our website to learn more and apply!

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Northern Food Network

AICBR continues to co-host the Northern Food Network with Food Secure Canada. This network started informally in 2015 and has evolved over the past 2 years to become a space for knowledge mobilization and connection building between Northerners (and Southern allies) on issues relating to the themes of food, health, agriculture, and environment. The Network has hosted a number of engagement sessions on national food policy (more below), has brought together Northerners for key gatherings/conferences related to food security as well as facilitated a number of teleconferences/webinars featuring speakers from across the North. You can view the recordings, notes and presentation slides from AICBR and the Network's recent initiatives here.  

UPCOMING WEBINAR: November 20th, 10-11am PST
Register here!

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Northern Engagement on a Food Policy for Canada 

What's Your Recipe For a Better Food System?

The federal government, led by Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada (AAFC), has been consulting on a national food policy over the summer and fall in order to build the country's first ever, cohesive policy governing our food. A Food Policy for Canada is meant to “promote healthy living and safe food by putting more healthy, high-quality food, produced by Canadian ranchers and farmers, on the tables of families across the country”  [Prime Minister Mandate Letter to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, 2015].

What food policy can do for everyday Canadians is that it sets out a plan of action, both in the short- and long-term, for how we govern our food system and how we ensure Canadians are healthy and safe, how we protect our environment for future generations and how we promote our goals for prosperity. We all need to eat, so we all have something important to say when it comes to shaping our national food policy.

This is why AICBR set out, along with our partner, the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition (YAPC), to gather northerners' perspectives on our food system. It is clear that there are unique needs and geographical, political and social circumstances that exist in the North that must be taken into account during the development of this policy. Especially given that the most food insecure households exist in the North, northerners voices must be heard. 

What we were able to do was to host two engagement sessions based in Whitehorse in July. We had a booth at the Fireweed Market for folks to learn more about the policy process and to add their thoughts to the question "What Food Issues Matter to You?" as well as to fill out the government's survey. We then co-hosted a free, community meal to further the discussion on six key themes. YAPC was also able to talk with community members through the Food Bank, Blood Ties and their Downtown Outreach Clinic. AICBR and YAPC were also invited to attend the Yellowknife Engagement Session hosted by AAFC, where there was a small cohort of Yukoners.

Common themes expressed:

  • Access to Fresh, Local, Organic Food;
  • Fulfilling Dietary Needs (especially for limited income);
  • High Cost of [Healthy] Food (especially in isolated communities);
  • Interest in Local Growing - Greenhouses and Gardening (in community and at home);
  • Need for Educational Opportunities (food skills and capacity building for teachers)
  • Food Sovereignty & Decision-Making - giving communities the tools to identify and act on their food system priorities
  • Indigenous Food Systems - harvesting and other activities essential to Indigenous food systems must be recognized 

Stay tuned for more on report on What We Heard...

*It should be noted that these engagement sessions were very Whitehorse centric (urban setting), thus the results from the consultations should not be interpreted as being representative of the entire Yukon. Further engagement with rural Yukon communities, and in particular, Yukon First Nation citizens is required for a more accurate picture of Yukon’s perspectives with respect to the Food Policy for Canada. 

The Northern Food Network also hosted two teleconferences focused around providing recommendations for the policy. What came out of these discussions were four main priority areas - Governance, Increasing Access to Affordable Food, Healthy and Safe Food, and Increasing Access to More High Quality Food. - Check out the pdf for full list of recommendations about what these areas mean for Northerners.

  • Link to press release and media engagement from Whitehorse events 
  • Link to Northern Priorities on the Food Policy for Canada
  • More on food policy from Food Secure Canada


Healthy Living Inventory

The new 2016-2017 data on healthy eating and active living programs is in! These two healthy living inventory maps help to promote ways of knowledge mobilization and collaboration in NWT and Yukon. The Yukon map also contains information on additional programs that cover themes of mental health, cultural activities, sexual health, career and skills development, and youth leadership

These maps were developed as part of the Public Health Agency of Canada-funded 'Working Together' project and are also being used as part of a new Healthy Living in My Community Project, which contains a free, six-lesson unit package for teachers (see more on this project below)!


We are also developing a separate map to highlight food security related initiatives in the Yukon. You can help us build this map by filling out program information of initiatives you know of by filling out the following survey

Healthy Living in My Community Project

The Healthy Living in My Community project will bring community stories of healthy eating and active living to the classroom and connect students to healthy living initiatives in their communities through the use of story mapping technology and hands-on experiential learning. This project builds from AICBR’s Healthy Living Inventory Mapping Tool and incorporates mapping tutorials and other lessons originally developed by Esri Canada's Education Group and adapted by AICBR for relevance in Yukon schools. It contains a free, six-lesson unit package that will meet English Language Arts, Arts Education, Physical and Health Education, and Applied Design, Skills and Technologies curriculum requirements. The lessons are targeted to grades 7-9 but can be modified to suit any grade. If you are a Yukon or NWT educator who is interested in incorporating this project into your classroom, please contact Molly,

  • Download the information booklet here!
  • Explore a story map example and learn more about how to use the Healthy Living Inventory, here!

NOTE: Esri's ArcGIS software is easy to use and freely accessible to all Canadian schools! Incorporating mapping into the school curriculum has many exciting applications - it builds students' analytical, technical, artistic, and language skills and encourages students to explore their world in creative, innovative ways! 


Introducing our Youth Assistant, Roberta Wally!

 Roberta is from Carcoss Tagish First Nation in Yukon and has joined our team as a Youth Assistant in the summer. She's been an asset to the team and has been helping with some of the climate change and research related projects that AICBR has been working on. Over the summer, Roberta was mentored by Norma Kassi and also got the opportunity to travel with Norma for various community engagement meetings around three main projects: the  Yukon Indigenous Community Climate Change Champion Training (YIC4) , the  Indigenous Leadership Initiative's development of a National Indigenous Guardians Network  and the development of a  Canadian Mountain Network .

Roberta is from Carcoss Tagish First Nation in Yukon and has joined our team as a Youth Assistant in the summer. She's been an asset to the team and has been helping with some of the climate change and research related projects that AICBR has been working on. Over the summer, Roberta was mentored by Norma Kassi and also got the opportunity to travel with Norma for various community engagement meetings around three main projects: the Yukon Indigenous Community Climate Change Champion Training (YIC4), the Indigenous Leadership Initiative's development of a National Indigenous Guardians Network and the development of a Canadian Mountain Network.

Introducing our Project and Communications Assistant, Anne Mease!

 Anne joined our team in October and has been helping to coordinate the Yukon Indigenous Community Climate Change Champion Training, among other responsibilities. She brings a wealth of knowledge from her Northern Tutchone roots from Selkirk First Nation, Pelly Crossing, Yukon and academic/professional background as a Certified Nursing Assistant and Social Services Worker and degrees (Bachelors of Arts (Double Honours) and Masters of Arts) in Anthropology/Archaeology and Native studies from the University of Saskatchewan.

Anne joined our team in October and has been helping to coordinate the Yukon Indigenous Community Climate Change Champion Training, among other responsibilities. She brings a wealth of knowledge from her Northern Tutchone roots from Selkirk First Nation, Pelly Crossing, Yukon and academic/professional background as a Certified Nursing Assistant and Social Services Worker and degrees (Bachelors of Arts (Double Honours) and Masters of Arts) in Anthropology/Archaeology and Native studies from the University of Saskatchewan.


Tribute to Katelyn

 Katelyn Friendship joined our team back in 2009 as Research Officer and later became Co-Director in 2014. She has helped grow and lead AICBR over the years, connecting us with many valuable opportunities and partnerships, has managed multiple large-scale and community-based projects, and contributed in invaluable ways to shape who we are today. While we are sad to say goodbye, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank her for her many years of incredible work and we wish her all the best in her future endeavours! 

Katelyn Friendship joined our team back in 2009 as Research Officer and later became Co-Director in 2014. She has helped grow and lead AICBR over the years, connecting us with many valuable opportunities and partnerships, has managed multiple large-scale and community-based projects, and contributed in invaluable ways to shape who we are today. While we are sad to say goodbye, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank her for her many years of incredible work and we wish her all the best in her future endeavours! 



As part of the Acting on Climate Change: Indigenous Initiatives Project, Norma has been working with McGill University on an initiative to showcase Indigenous innovations in climate change adaptation. As part of this project, a video game featuring a number of community adaptation initiatives (Selkirk First Nation's Keeping Our Traditions, Kluane First Nation's Nourishing Our Future, and Inuvik Community Greenhouse) were highlighted as part of a video game for kids at the Montreal Science Centre! 


Recent Publications

  • [link] Stories of Yukon Food Security. Food (In)security in the North. Northern Public Affairs Magazine. Issue 5, Volume 1.
    • Authors: Jody Butler Walker, Norma Kassi, Marilyn Van Bibber, Katelyn Friendship, Molly Pratt, Math’ieya Alatini, Mary Jane Johnson, Eugene Alfred, Roger Alfred, Kluane First Nation Lands, Resources and Heritage Department, and Kluane First Nation Youth and Elders
  • [link] The Partnerships, The Productions and the People Behind the Lens: Promoting Youth Wellness through Community-Based Research and Filmmaking. Innovations in Community Health and Wellness. Northern Public Affairs Magazine. Issue 5, Volume 2.
    • Authors: Norma Kassi, Molly Pratt, Marilyn Van Bibber, Katelyn Friendship, Jody Butler Walker, Math’ieya Alatini Mary Jane Johnson, Roger Alfred, Eugene Alfred, Kluane First Nation Lands, Resources & Heritage Department, Kluane First Nation Youth and Elders, & the Vuntut Gwitchin Natural Resources Department

AICBR Newsletter #4 (Our Ten-Year Anniversary!)

Celebrating Ten Years of Working Together Towards Northern Health and Well-Being!

February 14th, 2017 marked the Arctic Institute of Community-Based Research's (AICBR) ten-year anniversary. AICBR was originally established in 2007 as the Arctic Health Research Network – Yukon, which was part of a tri-territorial health research network linking the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut to develop health research capacity in the North and advance progress on northern health priorities.

Co-founded by Northerners Jody Butler Walker and Norma Kassi, a Vuntut Gwitchin citizen from Old Crow, AICBR has grown and evolved over the last ten years, developing many successful, strong partnerships and relationships along the way, and completing many projects. In all our work, we continue to strive towards:

  1. meaningful engagement of northerners in health, natural and social science research focused on northern priorities, with results contributing to all northerners living healthy lives;
  2. serving as a resource for northern health, natural and social science research activities with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities;
  3. developing community driven, northern-led, health and wellness research capacity;
  4. working in respectful ways with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, non-profit organizations, Indigenous, municipal, territorial and federal governments and the private sector to facilitate opportunities for intersectoral collaboration on complex health and wellness issues;
  5. building effective partnerships with universities and colleges to develop and strengthen community-based research capacity and the co-production of knowledge; and
  6. upholding ethical guidelines for best practices in northern Indigenous and non-Indigenous health and wellness research.

For this occasion, we wanted to take the time to reflect on the work we’ve been able to achieve together with our partners over the last decade and celebrate the many success stories that act to highlight the incredible strength and resilience of Northern people and environments. We'd also like to acknowledge all of our funders and advisors, whose support has helped push the bar on issues of northern importance. We look forward to many more productive years working with and alongside you to continue to advance and sustain health and well-being in the North!

 Some of the AICBR team and board at Food Secure Canada's 9th National Assembly in Toronto, Oct 2016.  (From left ): Katelyn Friendship, Molly Pratt, Norma Kassi, Jody Butler Walker, and board member Mary Jane Johnson;  (Missing from photo ): Marilyn Van Bibber and Beverly Baker.

Some of the AICBR team and board at Food Secure Canada's 9th National Assembly in Toronto, Oct 2016.
(From left): Katelyn Friendship, Molly Pratt, Norma Kassi, Jody Butler Walker, and board member Mary Jane Johnson; (Missing from photo): Marilyn Van Bibber and Beverly Baker.

Select Highlighted Projects

Healthy Lifestyles & Chronic Disease Prevention:

Working Together to Achieve Healthier Lifestyles in Yukon & Northwest Territories’ Communities project (2013 – 2017)

Funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Innovation Strategy

Our ‘Working Together’ project involves identifying ways to support, promote and facilitate healthier lifestyles in communities, through the strengthening of partnerships between organizations, governments, and communities. We have been particularly interested in sustainability and have been working with others to understand the factors that contribute to maintaining lasting long-term outcomes in our northern communities. As lead and support for the project, AICBR is incorporating a Collective Impact approach, working with those who share a common agenda and offer mutually reinforcing activities, and is facilitating ongoing communication between partners.

Some outcomes from this project:

  • Increased healthy eating and active living behaviours by supporting programs such as Yukon-based “Kids in the Kitchen”, Mayo's “Walk the Peel” and "Healthy U" initiatives, Selkirk First Nation family cooking classes, and the E’Sah Summer Project in Ross River
  • A baseline inventory of active living and healthy eating programs for Yukon and Northwest Territories was completed and integrated into a Healthy Living Inventory and Mapping Tool – currently being updated for 2016 (
  • Community Gardener Gatherings in both Yukon and Northwest Territories (more details below)
    • [Upcoming] Working Together to Grow More 4: Growing a Food Secure Yukon (March 14-15th, 2017)
    • Working Together to Grow More 3: Community Garden Gathering (2016) [pdf]
    • Working Together to Grow More 2: Community Gardeners & Economic Development Gathering (2015) [pdf]
    • Ecology North Fall Harvest Fair and North Slave Community Gardening Gathering (NWT) (2015) [pdf & video]
    • Working Together to Grow More: Yukon Community Garden Gathering (2014) [pdf]
  • Hosted the first Yukon Food Security Roundtable (and related events), bringing together multiple sectors to collectively analyze the Yukon food system and to plan for a more food secure Yukon (details below)
  • Co-facilitation of Food Network Yukon bi-monthly meetings with the Yukon Anti- Poverty Coalition
  • Co-host of Northern Food Network (NFN) with Food Secure Canada; the NFN is a pan-Canadian network of Northerners and others working in the areas of northern food security, environment, health, and agriculture, focused on contributing lessons rooted in and from the North to inform an equitable, sustainable and relevant national food policy
  • Support to the development of a Yellowknife Food Charter and currently exploring options for Whitehorse Food Charter
  • Increased connectivity and collaboration between multiple sectors
  • Increased understanding of factors of sustainability and scalability of successful health interventions through a community-based research lens and in a rural, remote, Northern context
  • Case Study: Success Stories from Ndilo and Dettah How School Gardens and Community Gardens are Growing Healthier Communities in the NWT
  • Case Study: Kids in the Kitchen
  • Case Study: Weekday Warriors After-School Program
  • Case Study: Growing Together at Weledeh: Weledeh School Garden Program, NWT
  • The development of this initiative included work that contributed to identifying potential partners and successes in the Yukon, as summarized in the report: "Celebrating Our Stories - Building a Healthier Yukon Together" [pdf]

Community Gardener Gatherings (2014 – 2017)

Funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, Yukon Government’s Community Development Fund, Recreation and Parks Association of the Yukon, Government of Canada’s Growing Forward 2, Council of Yukon First Nations, and Growers of Organic Food Yukon

We’ve hosted three successful Community Gardener Gatherings and are gearing up for our fourth, March 14 -15th called “Working Together to Grow More 4: Growing a Food Secure Yukon”. These workshops are a time for community gardeners from across the Yukon to network, learn from experts in the field of growing, share their knowledge, and pick up useful tips, tricks and resources. Participants decide the focus of the gathering; previous topics of focus have included community gardening & economic development, growing and management techniques, weather patterns and compost building. (Reports above)


Yukon Food Security Roundtable (2016)

Funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, Yukon Government’s Community Development Fund and Health Investment Fund, and sponsored by Air North

AICBR hosted three food security events May 18th - 19th, 2016: a Yukon Food Security Roundtable, an Evening on Food Security, and a Food Security Open House. The Yukon Food Security Roundtable was an opportunity for delegates from multiple sectors across the territory to come together to share current food security-related activities, identify factors that limit or facilitate food access and availability for Yukon residents, and to prioritize next steps. The Roundtable welcomed participation from 79 delegates from across the territory, including representation from 16 Yukon communities including Yukon First Nations, Indigenous governments, municipal, territorial and federal government representatives, the non-profit sector, food producers, researchers and concerned citizens, in addition to academics from Canada and the USA. On the final afternoon, AICBR opened up the Roundtable space to the public, with an Open House. Here, members of the public were encouraged to share their voice and experiences on the topic of food security. We hosted An Evening on Food Security in partnership with the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. Four speakers from across Canada and Alaska shared their work related to food security at this very well attended event.

A vision statement and ranked priorities and values for a food secure Yukon as well as 50 recommendations for how to achieve the top five were developed from roundtable discussions and group work, as follows:

Vision Statement:

“We believe in a food secure, food producing and food sharing Yukon where the land and the waters are harvested and protected. Through the wise use of resources, every person has dignified, affordable access to sufficient food to sustain a healthy, happy, and productive life. Yukon leaders and citizens work collaboratively to ensure food is generated by a robust network of local gardeners, farmers, hobby growers, hunters and fishers, businesses and advanced systems that preserve and distribute food.“

Top 5 Values & Priorities:

  1. Access for All
  2. Self Sufficiency
  3. Support for Local Food Producers
  4. Addressing Planning and Policy Development
  5. Encouraging Community Gardens and Greenhouses


  • Final Report: Working Together Towards a Food Secure Yukon. Outcomes from Yukon Food Security Roundtable, An Evening on Food Security and Open House (2016)  [pdf
  • For a complete list of priorities, as well as recommendations and other outcomes arising from the Roundtable, please visit:

Increasing Awareness and Education of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in Yukon (2011-2013)

Funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada

This project had an overall objective to develop a 'made in Yukon’ approach for raising awareness about HPV as well as strengthen partnerships within Yukon to contribute to lasting benefits for Yukon residents. AICBR worked in partnership on this project with Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and Yukon Government-Health & Social Services. The project was guided by a Steering Committee that included the Council of Yukon First Nations, several Yukon First Nation communities and a number of health practitioners. The project included developing education and awareness materials and activities, creating an interactive training workshop with First Nation health workers from each Yukon community, administering a survey on HPV awareness pre/post an education campaign, and promoting education about existing screening and vaccination programs in Yukon.

Vuntut Gwitchin Youth Diabetes Workshop, Old Crow (January 2009)

Funded by Health Canada's Climate Change and Health Adaptation in the North Program

Together with a Registered Dietician (RD) AICBR organized and co-hosted a Diabetes Workshop with youth in Old Crow. The RD led the youth through a series of hands-on activities designed to teach them about diabetes, to increase their awareness of hidden sugar and fats and to help them make healthy food choices. After the workshop, the youth presented their new knowledge to the community members at a community gathering, which was very well received. 


Yukon First Nations Health Promotion Spring and Fall Schools (2007 – 2008)

Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Tri-Territorial Health Access Fund — Operational Secretariat Fund

Together with the Council of Yukon First Nations, Yukon College and the University of Toronto, AICBR [then: Arctic Health Research Network – Yukon] brought together First Nation health resource workers based in communities across the Yukon to develop ways of promoting health on issues of importance to their communities. The five priority issues that participants focused on during the course were diabetes, depression, substance use, food security and Residential School trauma. These priority areas were previously identified through extensive consultations with Yukon First Nation communities and their health directors. In each theme, participants worked through a six-step planning process to identify key individuals and agencies, background information, goals, objectives, strategies, activities and indicators for each of the issues (see Diabetes and Food Security summary sheets). The final report from the Spring School in 2007 can be found here. A short film of the Spring School is available on our youtube channel

Food Security and Climate Change Adaptation:

Over the last ten years, food security and climate change adaptation have evolved as some of AICBR’s top priorities. Climate change and food insecurity in the North have far-reaching effects. Shifting landscapes, rising threats from natural disasters (particularly floods and wildfires), changing animal behaviours and declining traditional food species, melting glaciers and permafrost, warming temperatures, and changing ice and melt patterns across the territory are impacting the food, land and water systems that sustain the people and animals who live here. These challenges combined with high costs of living in the North and precarious housing and infrastructure have had communities turning to long-term planning for the future. Yukon First Nations Elders have been predicting hard times ahead for some time and are urging their communities to be prepared. At AICBR we believe that the Yukon can be a leader in climate change adaptation and food security from the ground-up. Our work merges existing and new scientific and Indigenous Knowledge, mobilizes resources, information and expertise and builds on strengths inherent in the communities and organizations we work with to influence policy, grassroots action and systems change. To learn more about our process and the principles of community-based research read more here.

Yukon First Nations food security and climate change adaptation strategies act as a road map which communities develop, based on their priorities and strengths; however, the process of developing these strategies often has wide-ranging effects: they bring communities together, honour cultural and traditional practices and values, build connection to the land, promote environmental stewardship, foster resilience and mental health and wellness, and facilitate traditional knowledge sharing between Elders and youth, among other benefits.Here are some examples of recent food security and climate change adaptation strategies that we’ve been involved in.


Kluane First Nation: Nourishing Our Future Project Phase 1 &2 (2014-2016)

Funded by Health Canada's Climate Change and Health Adaptation in the North, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s Northern Contaminants Program, Yukon Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Trust, and Dän Keyi Renewable Resources Council

Many Kluane First Nation (KFN) citizens and other Kluane Lake residents have noticed changes on the land and traditional animal species: melting of glaciers, thawing of ice on the lake in the winter, drying up of rivers and creeks, and fewer moose, caribou and some fish populations. Access to and availability of traditional foods that KFN citizens rely on for nutrition, health and wellness are becoming increasingly compromised; foods in grocery stores around Whitehorse and Tok are becoming more expensive (6 hr round trip), due to rising gas and market food prices. As a result, Kluane First Nation invited AICBR to work with them on developing a community food security strategy; the purpose of the strategy was to maintain their current traditional food sources, enhance their ability to grow their own food, and contribute to making their community more food secure for the future.

What arose from developing a food security strategy was a subsequent food sharing project (Phase 1a - with the University of Ottawa) and the documented recognition that monitoring traditional food species as part of climate change adaptation is vital for future food security (Phase 2). Phase 2 of the project (2016) sought to explore concerns about contamination of Kluane Lake fish and document traditional knowledge and perceptions of the many changes in fisheries and in fish health and quality. Together with the University of Waterloo, KFN and AICBR assessed the nutrient values (omega-3 fatty acids, selenium and zinc), as well as contaminant levels (mercury, organochlorine pesticides, trace metals) in Kluane Lake trout and whitefish and found that these fish were safe and healthy to eat at subsistence levels. The study helps to answer questions raised within the KFN community and provides a better understanding of local perceptions about nutrients and contaminants levels in the lake and in traditional food sources and hopes to bring a renewed understanding and reinforcement, especially for the young people, about the importance of protection and long-term stewardship of the local fishery. Reports and film, produced out of this two-phase project can be found here.


Selkirk First Nation: Keeping Our Traditions for the Health and Wellbeing of Future Selkirk First Nation Generations: “What do we do at the fish camp when there are no fish?” (2015-2016)

Funded by Health Canada's Climate Change and Health Adaptation in the North Program

Over recent years, the rapid change in climate has brought forth a number of challenges for Selkirk First Nation (SFN) citizens and the land they have relied on for many generations for traditional living. Shifting landscapes and animal behaviours alter the way people have traditionally traveled upon and used their land. Managing the river systems and accessing the bounty of the lakes must now be done with extra caution. Bear safety is a great concern as they have recently been roaming closer to the community in search of food. The decline of salmon, in particular, has been a threat for several years, and this year most fish camps remained empty until later in the season due to a moratorium on salmon fishing because of low fish stocks. Fish camps play an essential role in traditional knowledge exchanges between Elders and youth. With fewer citizens going to fish camps, the community wanted to ensure their youth would still have opportunities for learning traditional knowledge and practices.

Thus, SFN invited AICBR to work on developing community strategies for maintaining Selkirk First Nation traditions and practices while adapting to climate change. The strategies that were developed were built upon the priorities of the First Nation to revitalize their connection to the land and traditions for the benefit of the community and youth. This project used a mixed methods approach of community-based participatory research and Indigenous methodologies; this meant that the community was intimately involved in every stage of project development from planning the research questions, implementing research activities, analyzing and validating the data and sharing the results. The researchers from AICBR worked closely with the Community Advisory Committee on ensuring all activities were designed with community needs in mind and were carried out in an ethical and culturally appropriate manner; this ensured relevancy of findings and community ownership over the research process.


  • Selkirk First Nation: Keeping Our Traditions [Short Film
  • Community climate change adaptation report, titled: "Adapting to Climate Change and Keeping Our Traditions" [pdf]
  • A fish camp guidebook, titled: "Keeping Our Traditions at the Fish Camps: Our Ancestors' Gift to Our Youth" [pdf]

Yukon Food System Design & Planning Project (YFSDPP) (2012-2014)

AICBR was a collaborator on the YFSDPP, which was an initiative led by the Yukon Agriculture Association and Kwantlin Polytechnic University. AICBR facilitated community engagement activities with Yukon First Nations as part of this initiative. Five research agreements were signed with Yukon First Nation communities. Between 2012-2014, three communities were engaged in focus groups and interviews. Consultation occurred with Yukon First Nations, farmers and producers, hunters, distributers and consumers. A lack of funding prevented the project from completing the two remaining research agreements and other communities that were also interested in participating in the project.


Vuntut Gwitchin Climate Change and Health Research in Northern Yukon (2008-2011)

Funded by Health Canada's Climate Change and Health Adaptation in the North Program

This project was a three-phase food security and climate change adaptation initiative that began in Old Crow Yukon in 2008. The project was initiated by Vuntut Gwitchin citizens in Old Crow, who invited AICBR to work with them in response to their concerns about changes to their traditional harvesting and hunting areas, and changes in the distribution and abundance of several traditional food species. A large community gathering took place in Old Crow in 2009 where youth participated in various climate change workshops and presentations on the results of research by International Polar Year (IPY) researchers to learn about environmental changes in the Old Crow area. Prior to the gathering, youth were taught about climate change and reviewed plain language summaries of the research activities and results that had been prepared for them by the researchers. Youth were encouraged to ask questions, which they did throughout the two-day gathering. The second phase of the project arose out of recommendations from the community and youth, with a focus on food security and gathering of knowledge about what initiatives were going on in their community that could be built on for future climate change adaptation. The third phase focused on assisting and facilitating the community in determining how Old Crow residents could implement their recommendations from Phase II (2009-2010) in order to address food security issues. The youth also produced a documentary of the project and final reports are available here.

Injury Prevention:

A Journey to the Teachings Training (2009)

Funded by Health Canada and Council of Yukon First Nation's Aboriginal Health Transition Fund

We distributed 67 copies of "A Journey to the Teachings" resource binder to communities and agencies across the Yukon and facilitated training for 23 Yukon First Nations frontline workers to deliver injury prevention workshops in their communities. The resource was produced by Health Canada as a culturally informed approach to injury prevention with Indigenous peoples in Canada. Ten Yukon First Nations communities used the training to develop and implement projects responsive to their communities’ injury priorities through an initiative led by the Council of Yukon First Nations.


Injury Prevention Workshop (2008)

Funded by Health Canada and the Tri-Territorial Health Access Fund

This workshop brought world-renowned injury researchers from Tromsø, Norway and British Columbia together with students in the Licensed Practical Nursing program at Yukon College, non-governmental and government agencies and health practitioners to learn about the burden of injuries and various prevention strategies.

Some of our Publications:

  • [pdf] Knowledge and Engagement: Building Capacity for the Next Generation of Community-Based Researchers (2016)  
    • Book Editors: Rajesh Tandon, Budd Hall, Walter Lepore, and Wafa Singh
    • Chapter 4: Case Studies on Training, Teaching and Learning Community Based Research; Case Study 1 - Arctic Institute of Community-Based Research, Canada (pp. 62 - 71) ISBN-13: 978-1-55058-597-1
    • Authors: Jody Butler Walker, Norma Kassi, Marilyn Van Bibber and Katelyn Friendship
  • [pdf] Putting the Community Back Into Our Food System - Article (2016)
    • Key Messages from Pan-Canadian Food Discussions at Food Secure Canada’s National Assembly, October 13 – 16th, 2016
    • Authors: Molly Pratt, Katelyn Friendship, Norma Kassi, and Jody Butler Walker
  • [pdf] Idioms of Sámi Health and Healing. Edited by Barbara Helen Miller. Volume 2, Patterns of Northern Traditional Healing, Earle Waugh, Series Editor. University of Alberta Press, 2015. 220 pp. (2015)
    • Book review published in The Northern Review, Yukon College (pp. 139 - 142) ISSN 1929-6657 (Online)
    • Authors: Katelyn Friendship and Norma Kassi
  • [pdf] Indigenous Community Food Security in Yukon Territory Canada (2015)
    • Authors: Norma Kassi, Katelyn Friendship and Jody Butler Walker
  •  [in print] Canadian Journal of Native Education Indigenizing the International Academy (2014)
    • Article: Capacity Interrupted: The Kloshe Tillicum Graduate Student Training Experience. Volume 37; Number 1; pp. 165 - 192.
    • Authors: Nadine R. Caron, Sharon Thira, Rod M. McCormick, Jody E. Butler Walker, Christopher E. Lalonde, Laura Arbour, Richard W. Vedan, Eduardo M. Jovel
  • Achieving Health Weights for Children (2011)
    • [pdf] Deliberative Dialogue 2 - December 8 2011
    • [pdf] Deliberative Dialogue 2 - December 8 2011 - Collected Notes
  • [pdf] Working Together to Achieve Healthier Weights in Yukon Communities (2011)
    • Authors: Jody Butler Walker, Marylin Van Bibber, Katelyn Friendship, Bree Blottner, Lucy McGinty, Ashley Van Bibber, Carmen Gibbons, Marie Martin, Diane Baumgartner, Anne Morgan, Paula Pasquali, and Ian Parker
  • [pdf] Climate Change and Food Security in the North - A Literature Review (2010)
    • Author: Katelyn Friendship
  • [pdf] Diabetes Prevention in Practice (2010)
    • The Learner Becomes the Teacher: a Community-Based Diabetes Prevention Training Programme for First Nations Health Workers in Northern Canada  ISBN 978-3-00-030765-2
    • Authors: Jody Butler Walker, Laura Salmon, Jennifer Eskes, Shannon Duke, Lori Duncan, and Karyn Cochrane
  • [pdf] Food Security in Times of Change (2009)
    • A Policy Brief on Food Security for Northern Canada
    • Authors:Jody Butler Walker, Norma Kassi and Claire Eamer
  • [pdf] Promising Practices in Knowledge Translation for Research Users (2008)
    • A Review of the Literature
    • Authors: Genevieve Clark
  • [pdf] Do It Yourself Diabetes Manual 2008 (2008)
    • Diabetes Prevention Activities - A Manual for Everyone
    • Authors: Laura Salmon & Jennifer Eskes [First Nations Health Programs], Jody Butler Walker, Norma Kassi & Shannon Duke [Arctic Health Research Network — Yukon], Karyn Cochrane & Renee Roy [Skookum Jim Friendship Centre], and Janna Dykstra [Yukon First Nations Dietetic Internship Program] 

AICBR Newsletter #3 (November 2016)


NEW DVD Release!



Remembering Our Past Nourishing Our Future

A Kluane First Nation Project
in Collaboration with
the Arctic Institute of Community-Based Research

In partnership with Kluane First Nation (KFN) we are pleased to announce the recent release of KFN's Remembering Our Past Nourishing Our Future DVD which was produced in collaboration with AICBR as part the Nourishing Our Future project. We have been working with KFN over the past three years and this documentary is the culmination of a tremendous amount of great work that the community has done to reclaim their culture, traditions, food security, and future wellbeing. The documentary weaves a story of climate change, food security, shifting landscapes and how the small community of Burwash Landing in Kluane First Nation's majestic traditional territory has used their self-determination to honour their past, harness their resilience and traditional knowledge, skills and culture in order to nourish their future.

This film and all the contents of the Nourishing Our Future project are owned by Kluane First Nation; AICBR has been given the rights to disseminate and share the deliverables, as per the agreed terms of the copyright agreement.

The reports from Phase I and II of the Nourishing Our Future project are available on our website (projects page.) You can WATCH the film below!

Ä si Keyi, means "Our Grandfather's land." This dramatic sub-arctic land is changing. The film tells a story about how climate change and the history of food insecurity have affected Kluane First Nations people and the land they call home. It portrays strategic adaptation by embracing their past as the foundation towards prioritizing their culture and traditional values, practices and knowledge. Ultimately, it is a story of resilience of a peoples in the wake of a changing world.


Knowledge and Engagement: Building Capacity for the Next Generation of Community Based Researchers

Chapter 4: Case Studies on Training, Teaching and Learning Community Based Research

Case Study 1: Arctic Institute of Community-Based Research (pp. 62 - 71)

By: Jody Butler Walker, Norma Kassi, Marilyn Van Bibber & Katelyn Friendship

We are pleased to announce our most recent publication in the new book Knowledge and Engagement: Building Capacity for the Next Generation of Community Based Researchers (Chapter 4). Authored by Jody, Norma, Marilyn and Katelyn, the UNESCO publication takes the reader through some of AICBR's early work and the development of processes and principles that continue to guide our organization's work. The case study focuses on AICBR's community-developed principles for research, training and capacity-building activities, ethics for research in the North, and knowledge mobilization. Free, public access to the book can be found on our reports page (see pp 62 - 71).

Introducing Our Healthy Living Inventory Maps

A Public Health Agency of Canada Funded Project:

Working Together to Achieve Healthier Lifestyles in Yukon and Northwest Territories' Communities

Together with our partners through the Working Together to Achieve Healthier Lifestyles in Yukon and Northwest Territories’ Communities project, we have compiled information on Healthy Eating and Active Living programs in communities in both territories (information is from 2014 and is currently being updated to 2016 - see below). These maps will help program coordinators, recreation leaders, funders, and others, to access information about the healthy initiatives going on in their community. The purpose of this tool is to facilitate collaboration between organizations and others in order to work together to support healthier lifestyles across the North.  

Interested in learning about healthy eating or active living programs near you? - click here!

If you have information, photos or other updates from a Healthy Eating or Active Living program in your community, please fill out our short, online survey!



Delegates from Across the Territory Come Together to Discuss Food Security

Three Events | Two Days | May 18-19th, 2016
Yukon Food Security Roundtable | An Evening on Food Security | Open House

Working Together towards Food Security for All Yukon Residents

May 18th-19th, 2016, the Arctic Institute of Community-Based Research (AICBR) brought together representatives from government (Yukon First Nations, municipal, territorial and federal), non-government organizations, private sector, academia and Indigenous and non-Indigenous Northerners to discuss the issue of food security and develop some actionable outcomes and priorities for moving forward together towards a food secure Yukon. Over the two days, almost 100 people from across Yukon and beyond gathered at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre to discuss strengths, challenges and opportunities for food security in the territory. 

The development of a "shared food security agenda" in the Yukon will contribute to moving towards more coordinated actions and outcomes now and in the future. The Yukon Food Security Roundtable was the first known of its kind in Yukon, where multiple sectors were able to gather and discuss this important issue that affects us all. The outcomes from these Yukon discussions will inform wider a pan-Northern dialogue on food security planning and hopefully contribute to a more comprehensive Northern picture of food security as part of the emerging National Food Policy that the federal Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-foods has been mandated to develop.

"Food insecurity means people do not have access to enough affordable, acceptable, and adequate food to meet their daily needs and preferences." (Food and Agriculture Organization)

Food insecurity is a serious public health problem. When children grow up hungry they are more likely to experience poor health conditions later in life; adults living in food insecure households have higher rates of depression, diabetes and heart disease (PROOF).
IN YUKON 17.1% of people were food insecure and almost 20% of Yukon children were living in food insecure households in 2012 (most recent data) (PROOF).

Check out the full report, photos and summaries of Roundtable outcomes on our website.


Norma Kassi Receives Food Secure Canada's Cathleen Kneen Award

We are proud to announce our very own Norma Kassi as the recent winner of the 3rd Cathleen Kneen Award! This award recognizes individuals for their leadership, vision, grassroots activism, and dedication to building a more just and ecological food system. Norma and her fellow award recipient, Abra Brynne from rural BC officially accepted their awards on World Food Day, October 16th at the recent Food Secure Canada 9th National Assembly in Toronto.

Read more about the award and Cathleen Kneen here. To watch a video of Norma's full acceptance speech click here.






After receiving news of the award Kassi said,

“I am truly humbled to accept this award on behalf of future generations of all cultures, in honour of Cathleen Kneen. She was courageous and bold. She started the Indigenous Circle at Food Secure Canada and believed strongly in reaching across all cultures without fear; she encouraged us Indigenous peoples that in order to build a strong Indigenous food sovereignty movement we can not work in silos. I believe that communities in the North can speak from themselves, that they have the knowledge; we are at the forefront of climate change and food insecurity, especially in the Arctic regions, and if we work together we can and will make an impact. We have a strong voice and if we raise it in unison on the key issues that affect us, people will listen.”


In collaboration with Kluane First Nation and the University of Waterloo, AICBR recently wrapped up Phase 2 of Nourishing Our Future project. This report and project arose from recommendations from Phase 1 of the project and the resulting KFN Food Security Strategy. This phase of the project entailed testing fish health in Kluane Lake and compiling traditional knowledge from key Kluane First Nations experts in the community of Burwash Landing. You can find the full report as well as other deliverables, including the NEW DVD on our website.



AICBR and Selkirk First Nation recently completed a project called: Keeping Our Traditions. This project was a result of concerns in the community about the declining fish populations and the need to protect traditional Selkirk knowledge, skills, culture in order to promote youth wellness through traditional Fish Camps. What arose was a climate adaptation report specific to keeping Selkirk traditions and a Fish Camp Guidebook for youth. A short documentary was also produced for this project and all project material can be found here.





We've had a busy year so far! These are only some of our highlights. At an organizational level, we moved to a co-directorship approach, with Jody Butler Walker and Katelyn Friendship taking the reigns and we welcomed Molly Pratt, our Communications and Research Coordinator to our team. To read in more detail about what we've been up to check out our website and read Highlights Report for 2015-2016. Available here!

In June, we hosted a hole as part of a golf tournament put on by Volunteer Bénévoles Yukon and Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous. The tournament was both a fundraiser to raise funds for Red Cross Alberta fire fighting efforts and an opportunity to raise the profile of some of the amazing non-profits in Yukon. We met lots of great folks, had fun hosting some games as part of the tournament and shared a bit about the work we do!

Congratulations to Katelyn Friendship and other recent graduates who completed their Practical Leadership Learning for Non-Profits course put on by Volunteer Bénévoles Yukon and facilitated by Sue Starr at the Heart of Riverdale. 





We've had a busy year traveling across the country for some amazing conferences. Here is a list of some of the conferences we've presented at:  

Please subscribe to our new youtube channel and connect with us on social media (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn)!

Disclaimer: All community project data, content, photos, and deliverables are owned by the community. In all of our work with Indigenous partners, we recognize the principles of OCAP in our processes and have signed agreements with each individual project partner as well as undergo an informed consent process prior to disseminating any of the results. 

AICBR Newsletter #2 (February 2016)

Yukon Food Security Roundtable organized by the AICBR

Yukon food costs are on the rise

Yukon food species are declining because of climate change and other factors

What does "Food Security" mean?
Food Security has been defined by the World Health Organization as being when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.

We all know that the cost of food in the Yukon has been increasing rapidly and it's likely to continue. Research indicates that climate change is impacting the availability of food from the land and the water and that these changes may continue for some time into the future. 

It's been reported that 21% of Yukon residents are reportedly food insecure compared to 15% of Canadians (source). 

This means that despite the number of food-related activities underway in the Yukon, there are still people going to bed hungry, and it's going to get worse.

To work towards achieving sustainable food security for all Yukon residents, the Roundtable will bring together participants from multiple governments, NGOs, growers, distributors and communities who contribute to food security in the Yukon, with the purpose of increasing awareness about food security from various perspectives and identifying opportunities for collaboration.  The development of a "shared food security agenda" in the Yukon will contribute to moving towards more coordinated actions and outcomes now and in the future.

The Roundtable will take place in Whitehorse in May of 2016.

Please contact us at or 867-668-3393 if you are interested in being involved. 

Working Together to Grow More 3 

Join us for our third Community Gardeners' Gathering - Working Together to Grow More 3 on March 22 and 23, 2016. We have welcomed members from all Yukon communities in past years and hope to have a community garden grower from each community this year. Please share this invitation with other members of your community who run Yukon community gardens, or are interested in becoming more involved in the development of community gardens.

  • $75 Registration Fee for gathering due by March 4, 2016
  • Extra $50 registration fee for optional public seed saving and production workshop on Thursday, March 24.
  • To register please contact Heidi by phone at 867.333.0843, or by email at

Norma's Story wins best Canadian short!

"Tread Lightly' was one of the messages of the National Film Boards Canadian short entitled "Norma's Story". Our very own Norma Kassi tells her story of growing up in Old Crow and the way that climate change has affected the land and the people. 

"Norma's Story" won best Candian short at Planet in Focus in Toronto this October 2015. This short film was also selected for showing at Montreal First Peoples Film Festival, Chicago International Social Change Film Festival, and the 18th Annual United Nations Association Film Festival. 

Hello from Concordia University.

Katelyn and Marilyn take it all in this past November at "Creating Common Ground: The Community Mapping National Summit" held at Concordia University in Montreal. Katelyn presented the healthy living map of health eating and active living programs in Yukon and Northwest Territories. Marilyn shared her experiences of mapping from an Indigenous perspective. 

AICBR's Norma Kassi and Marilyn Van Bibber all geared up to snowmobile out to Tatleman Lake for the "Keeping our Traditions" project with the Selkirk First Nation and our friends over at BYTE. This was a 5 day land-based youth, mental health, and climate change camp.

AICBR's Norma Kassi weighs in as hunger gnaws in Canada's North. 

"This shift away from traditional foods towards imported goods shipped into the north at high cost, has had a profound impact on the region's indigenous people". 

Click to read Chris Arsenault's article published on Reuters

SCOPe, hosted a panel "Engaging First Nations communities in scientific research: lessons for successful and meaningful collaboration panel discussion" at Yukon College on January 21, 2016.

Norma Kassi, Arctic Institute for Community-Based Research along with; Bob Van Dijken, Council of Yukon First Nations; and David Silas, Yukon College all contributed to this panel discussion. 

Katelyn Friendship presented in the webinar "Exciting Intersections for Ecohealth in Action: Northern remote communities & you & new ways of engaging". Testimonial from the webinar, "Lovely example of simultaneously building both engagement and capacity with youth. Also an inspirational example of linking determinants of health and health itself".

Click to listen to a recording of this webinar.

Events and announcements

  • Working Together to Grow More 3: Community Gardeners Workshop is set to take place between March 22-23, 2016.  
  • Katelyn Friendship, our acting ED, got married on Saturday, January 30, 2016! Don't worry everyone, she did take ONE day to get ready for the big day...

AICBR's Newsletter is Back! (January 2015)

Meet AICBR's new logo.

Today, we are excited to unveil our revamped logo.  But it is more than just looks.

The root of our new identity is a reflection of our organization's inclusive community-based focus.  Blue, red, yellow, and green people are shown embracing one another symbolizing the need for everyone, indigenous and non-indigenous, to work together towards community-based solutions. 

As depicted in our logo, we prioritize community health and environment in all our research priorities. Check out the detailed story behind our original logo.

3...2...1... LAUNCH!

We launched our new website! Thanks to the efforts of Sygnifi and the staff of AICBR our new site is now live and better than ever. 

Ever wonder where you could find out about "healthy eating" or "active living" programs in Yukon or Northwest Territories? Look no further.  Our new website features two snazzy new maps (returning soon) with healthy living inventories for these two territories.  If you know of a healthy eating or active living program in your community that is not listed, we would love to hear from you.

AICBR's Norma Kassi gave a presentation on September 8, 2015 for the 11th Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies (CHAGS) at the University of Vienna.  By telling her story, Norma told the story of the changes the Vuntut Gwitchin in Old Crow face due to climate change as well as the need to develop strategies to adapt to these changes.

About 66 Environment Canada employees gathered on August 20, 2015 to watch AICBR's "Our Changing Homelands, Our Changing Lives" film.  Norma Kassi teleconferenced into the meeting for a Q&A session after the group had watched the film.


Katelyn Friendship made AICBR proud this June by presenting on"Indigenous Community Food Security in Yukon Territory" as well as "Working Together to Achieve Healthier Lifestyles in Yukon and Northwest Territories' Communities"at the 16th International Congress on Circumpolar Health: Focus on Future Health and Wellbeing in Oulu, Finland. 

Katelyn was also busy making waves closer to home by presenting the project "Working Together to Achieve Healthier Lifestyles in Yukon and Northwest Territories' Communities" in Yellowknife and at Whitehorse's local SCOPE Lunch and Learn put on by Yukon Government this September.

Events and annoucements

  • A big thank you to Chris Thoreau from The Bauta Family Initiative for Canadian Seed Security for raising awareness across the territory on seed security between September 20-25, 2015.
  • Join AICBR at our AGM October 21, 2015 between 12:00-1:00pm at 308 Hanson
  • We are pumped to hire Jeanine O'Connell as our Communications and Research Coordinator as she completes her MSc in Epidemiology