YIC4 - Yukon Indigenous Community Climate Change Champions Project (2017-2019)

Mobilizing Knowledge for Developing Indigenous Community Champions for Climate Change Adaptation in Yukon


This two-year project focuses on training Yukon First Nations youth, aged 18-30 years on climate change and leadership skills for gathering and mobilizing new and existing knowledge, from global, local and Indigenous perspectives, for climate change adaptation in the Yukon. In total, 29 participants are taking part in the project (21 Yukon First Nations youth, six Indigenous youth from Northern BC, NWT and Nunatsiavut as well as two Renewable Resource Council members). The project entails two training sessions hosted in Whitehorse, individual community-based climate change assessments and the creation of a Yukon First Nations Climate Change Adaptation Network (YFN-CAN), which has been formed to further communication, learning and networking opportunities throughout the two years. The overall goal of this initiative is to build upon Yukon First Nations communities' capacity to respond to complex issues related to climate change and its effects on food and water security, in particular. 

Phase 1

  • Training 1: The first training session was held at the Yukon Inn, November 27-30th 2017. The curriculum focused on building a strong foundation of knowledge about the causes and effects of and adaptation strategies for climate change from the global to local perspectives. Various trainers from across the territory and Canada helped to train the youth in both scientific and Indigenous ways of knowing.

  • The youth were highly engaged throughout and came to the training with a wealth of knowledge already as well as many concerns about the changes witnessed throughout their homelands, which they were able to share with each other; while the topic of climate change can be overwhelming at times, they expressed incredible passion and dedication to working together toward positive change and building onto their communities' adaptive and mitigative capacities from a strengths-based, Indigenous-led perspective. As part of a facilitated process, youth also co-developed their own community assessment plan, including developing the research questions which would be relevant for their assessments. These plans and questions later informed the development of a Community Assessment Toolkit

Phase 2

  • Community Assessments: Between June to September 2018, youth from three communities so far have worked with ACIBR to complete a community-based assessment of knowledge, attitudes and perspectives on climate change; they spoke with Elders, key members of the community and various representatives within their First Nation office to explore notable climate changes and adaptation needs related to five key themes: Food and Water Security; Health, Social and Culture; Infrastructure and Transportation; Economy; and Habitat and Species Areas. An inventory map of climate change initiatives (related to adaptation, monitoring and mitigation activities) is also being developed. This will help to build a more comprehensive picture of current work on climate change in the territory.

  • Training 2: January 2019, 24 youth gathered in Whitehorse for another four-day training session in order to build upon their community assessments, further develop their leadership and community-based research and presentation skills and work up ideas for community-led projects related to climate change action.

Outcomes so Far:

  • Training Sessions:

    • Training 2: January 21-24th, 2019

    • Training 1: November 27-30th, 2017

    • Curriculum & Training Guide Package - coming soon…

  • Community Assessments & Toolkit:

    • Four communities completed their assessments over Summer/Fall 2018 - community reports in production

    • [pdf] Community-Based Climate Change Assessment Toolkit

      • [pdf] Additional community assessment workbook sheets

  • Project Newsletters:

    • [pdf] YIC4 Newsletter, December 2018

    • [pdf] YIC4 Newsletter, February 2018

  • [link] Yukon Climate Change Inventory Map

  • YIC4 film - in production

  • Media and Presentations:

    • [radio clip] CBC Yukon, Midday Cafe: Youth voice concerns about climate change at the YIC4 training, November 29th, 2018

    • Assembly of First Nations and Environment and Climate Change Canada Joint Committee, Ottawa, January 18th, 2018

    • Aboriginal Climate Change Experts Group, Assembly of First Nations, Vancouver, March 13th, 2018

    • National Adaptation Planning (NAP) Expo, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, April 5th, 2018

    • ArcticNet Conference, Ottawa, December 10-14th, 2018 (YIC4 youth presentation)


Filmmaker Tookie Mercredi filmed the training and discussions for a documentary being created as part of the project and resident artist Heidi Marion created a wonderful graphic depiction of the discussions throughout the November training. Photo credits: Tookie Mercredi and Molly Pratt. 

Current Partners:

We are working together with the Council of Yukon First Nations, the Yukon Government's Climate Change Secretariat, and Yukon College's Research Centre on this initiative as well as interested Yukon First Nations communities.

Funders and sponsors:

  • Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (formerly known as Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada), Climate Change Preparedness in the North Program

  • Polar Knowledge Canada

  • Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation through the McGill University's Acting on Climate Change: Indigenous Innovations project (support some travel and training, Phase 1)

  • Canadians for a New Partnership (support travel, Phase 1)

  • Esri Canada (support for inventory map development)