YIC4 - Yukon Indigenous Community Climate Change Champions Project

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

Training 1: November 27-30th, 2017

Training 2: January 21-24th, 2019

Location: Yukon Inn, Whitehorse


This two-year project focuses on training Yukon Indigenous 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. Six youth from other northern regions in Canada are also taking part. The project entails two training sessions hosted in Whitehorse, a community-based climate change assessment phase 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

A four-day training was hosted at the Yukon Inn, November 27-30th 2017 and welcomed 29 participants (Indigenous youth from across the Yukon as well as four guest youth from NWT and Nunatsiavut and two Renewable Resource Council (RRC) members). The training 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. Dr. Catherine Potvin from McGill University as well as Dene Elder Francois Paulette from the Northwest Territories, Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Elders Mary Jane Jim and Chuck Hume, Kluane First Nation's Mary Jane Johnson, and Elder Richard Wilson from Haida Gwaii helped to train the youth in 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 in 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 and tool to explore climate change adaptation work and future areas of potential for community action. 

Phase 2

After Phase 1 of the training, youth will return to their communities and work on completing their community assessments. In January of 2019, they will come back together continue to build upon this assessment, further develop their leadership and community-based research skills and work up ideas for a youth-/community-led projects for community adaptation.


Outcomes so Far:

  • Community assessments being completed by participating communities this summer - in progress

  • Community-Based Assessment Toolkit for communities to use to assess needs and priorities related to climate change adaptation - in final production stage, will be posted soon

  • YIC4 Curriculum Package - Part 1 completed; Part 2 in progress

  • [pdf] YIC4 Newsletter, February 2018

  • Media and Presentations:

    • [radio clip] CBC Yukon, Midday Cafe: Youth voice concerns about climate change at the YIC4 training (image below), 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


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:

  • Polar Knowledge Canada

  • Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Climate Change Preparedness in the North Program

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

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