Inuit Traditional Knowledge for Adapting to the Health Effects of Climate Change (IK-ADAPT)

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: health, climate change, traditional knowledge, food security, Inuit

Principal Investigator: Pearce, Tristan D (18)
Licence Number: 15139
Organization: University of Guelph
Licenced Year(s): 2014 2013 2012
Issued: Aug 20, 2012
Project Team: Linnaea Jasiuk (Student Researcher, University of Guelph), To be decided (Community Adaptation Leader, Ulukhaktok), To be decided (Community Researchers, Ulukhaktok), To be decided (Elder Representative, Ulukhaktok), To be decided (Youth Representative, Ulukhaktok), To be decided (Graduate Student, To be decided)

Objective(s): To create a local research team that will guide project development, implementation, evaluation and monitoring; to identify and develop culturally acceptable ways to document, conserve and promote Inuit traditional knowledge (IK) to prevent, prepare for and manage the impacts of climate change on health (specifically targeting younger generations (e.g. social media, radio dramas, land camps, web-based knowledge banks); and to evaluate the effectiveness of pilot interventions.

Project Description: To work in collaboration with community members to:

1. create a local research team that will guide project development, implementation, evaluation and monitoring,
2. identify and develop culturally acceptable ways to document, conserve and promote Inuit traditional knowledge (IK) to prevent, prepare for and manage the impacts of climate change on health (specifically targeting younger generations (e.g. social media, radio dramas, land camps, web-based knowledge banks), and
3. evaluate the effectiveness of pilot interventions.

Objective 1 – a research consultation visit will be made to the community to identify local project partners (e.g. local project coordinator; elder representatives; research assistants; youth representatives; etc.).

Objective 2 – researchers will work with elders and other local ‘experts’ on traditional approaches to health (e.g. food security, travel safety), documenting oral history and knowledge on leading a healthy life and linking this with related scientific approaches to health promotion, prevention and management. Attention will be directed to physical, mental and social wellbeing in a rapidly changing climate, documenting knowledge and skills for how health can be maintained during times of stress. The focus on elders in particular, reflects their unique role in the community health systems as a resource for knowledge and concerns that this important information is not being passed to younger generation community members. Youth will be actively engaged in documenting IK reflecting the fact that it is their generation that will experience the most dramatic climate change and the concerns about the transmission of IK to younger generations. In this proposal it is not suggested what tools or platforms will be developed to this end as it is not intended to be prescriptive; instead it will be guided by and work closely with community members, collaborators, and knowledge user partners to identify, create and build upon already successful methods that effectively use and promote lessons from IK.

Objective 3 – pilot interventions developed in objective 2 will be evaluated for their effectiveness in informing knowledge and behavior to reduce climate-related health risks for food security, travel safety and emerging health concerns, with a specific focus on younger generations. Evaluations will include interviews and surveys with community members.


As in other projects conducted by the applicant, this project will be designed and conducted together with community partners. Community partners were involved in the development of the funding proposal and will continue to be engaged in research planning and development, the collection of data in the community, and presentation of results back to the community and elsewhere. The project addresses key interests expressed by community members to document, conserve and promote Inuit traditional knowledge to prevent, prepare for and manage the impacts of climate change on health. The applicant will first work with community partners and organizations (HTC, UCC, Hamlet, etc.) to design how the research project will be conducted. Community feedback will be integrated into the research project design.
Research updates and final results will be communicated back to community members through a variety of communication techniques including: local radio; posters; community research reports translated into the local language; public presentations; school presentations; and household visits. Community members will be engaged throughout the research process and research updates will be provided to the community during the research.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from August 20, 2012 to December 21, 2012.