Climate Change & Water Newsletter September 2021



The IPA encompasses the Meziadin watershed, with substantial parts of the Kitwanga and Nass River watersheds, large upper sections of the Kispiox River, and a Skeena River Tributary. Photos by Ryan Dickie, retrieved form The Narwhal.

The IPA encompasses the Meziadin watershed, with substantial parts of the Kitwanga and Nass River watersheds, large upper sections of the Kispiox River, and a Skeena River Tributary. Photos by Ryan Dickie, retrieved form The Narwhal.


The Gitanyow have led a significant step in climate change action and decolonization through the assertion of a new Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) over 54,000 hectares of Gitanyow territory.


The protected areas are to conserve critical northern areas of spawning and swimming for declining sockeye populations that are already endangered by climate change and mineral exploration. The decline of spawning was evident in the Hanna and Tintina creeks, as observed by Gitanyow fisheries researchers. Through a collaboration between the Gitanyow fisheries research and the Gitanyow Guardian Program, Guardians are rehabilitating areas for salmons.

Through a collaboration between the Gitanyow Fisheries Research and the Gitanyow Guardian Program, Guardians are rehabilitating areas for salmon use. The declaration honours and upholds gwelx ye’ enst, the “right and responsibility to pass on the territory in a sustainable manner from one generation to the next”, and plans for next steps in creating a new science and climate change study centre and cultural camp for Elders and youth programs.

In their speech, Simogyet Chief Glen Williams relays, “It’s now for the young peopleour young Gitxsan, Gitanyow peopleto stand up and be firm and be bold and transition our lax’yip (territory) back to the rightful owners.”

To learn more about the Gitanyow Wilp Wii Protected Area, watch the documentary  HA NII TOKXW: OUR FOOD TABLE


The First Nations Fisheries Council (FNFC) is bringing back their Water Wednesday Webinar series. Join the FNFC for a coast-to-coast-to-coast discussion with the FNFC, the BC Government, and special resource guest(s) including Cheryl Knockwood, a Governance Advisor and coordinator from the Mi’kmaw Nation. They will explore different approaches to advance and implement Bill C-15 & DRIPA.

To register, click here.

All BC Chiefs and First Nations Emergency Management professionals are invited to join the First Nations Leadership Council at the Virtual BC First Nations Emergency Management Forum to discuss emergency management strategies with other professionals and experts in the field. The two-day forum will be held over Zoom. Attendees will learn more about legislation, policy development, emergency management concerns, lessons learned, training and development, policy issues, and government to government relations.


For more information, please contact or call (604) 314-8228

Save the Date: Guardian Programs (When: October 29, 2021 from 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. PDT)

The First Nations Energy Mining Council, in partnership with the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, will be hosting a 3-hour virtual workshop discussing Indigenous Guardian Programs in Canada. Participants will learn more about Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) and Guardian initiative concepts, including the importance of IPCAs and Guardians in restoring Indigenous rights, in addressing climate change, and existing barriers in IPCAs and Guardian initiatives.

To register for this event, please e-mail

The UN Climate Change 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) (When: October 31 to November 12, 2021)

This year in Glasgow, UK, global leaders and individuals will come together to discuss the urgency of the climate crisis during the United Nation Climate Change Conference of the Parties. It is expected that discussion will be in light of the recent release of the IPCC Sixth Report. Leaders are urged to strengthen their climate actions, policies and decisions. Updated information on COP26 will be posted here

Find more information about Indigenous Peoples’ participation on the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)visiting the Local Communities and Indigenous People Platform (LCIPP). The Indigenous Climate Action has also hosted two webinars to explore the history of Indigenous Peoples at the UNFCCC and to address key issues for Indigenous Peoples at COP26. The recording for webinar Part 1 can be found here and for Part 2 here.

West Coast Action Network (WE-CAN) invites you to the Public Launch of the West Coast Climate Action Network. Their purpose is to promote and support the work of climate action groups all across BC and to urge more rapid and urgent climate action, while working to centre Indigenous and other under-represented voices. the Public Launch will bring together speakers, musician, and poets. Register on Eventbrite to receive the livestream link (YouTube) or tune in on Facebook.


Register here.


The West Coast Environmental Law is inviting Indigenous nations to nominate one or more individual co-learners (community members or employees) to participate in a year-long program to build the foundation for current or future work on revitalizing Indigenous law for their nation. Participants will learn about approaches to applying and enforcing Indigenous law, have the opportunity to engage with their nation’s own laws and processes, explore how these can shape community decision-making processes, and learn from one another. The events are:


Retreat 1: Indigenous Law in Story (November 2021, 2-hour sessions most Tuesdays and Thursdays (1-3PM PST via Zoom)

Retreat 2: Decision-Making Processes & Roles (March 1 to 4, 2022, in-person*)

Retreat 3: Indigenous Law in Action (June 7-10,2022, *in-person)

*subject to COVID-19 restrictions, the retreat centre will have access to land, location TBD, likely in the Lower Fraser Valley or Vancouver area. RELAW will cover accommodations and food, while travel to and from the retreat location is the responsibility of the nominating nation or participant.


For more information, visit the WCEL website on how to get involved or watch this video. To register, please complete this expression of interest form and send to by October 15, 2021.


The CleanBC Deadline Tracker provides a list of BC funding programs in order of their application deadlines. Interested individuals can visit this website on a monthly basis to find new, local funding opportunities.

The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) Indigenous Climate Health Action Program (ICHAP) supports First Nations leadership in reducing climate change impacts on health. The ICHAP provides funding for climate action projects centred on community health and wellness outcomes. Projects can focus on climate health in general or on developing a strategy or action plan to reduce climate change impacts on community health. Learn more about the program, eligibility criteria, and application process here.

For more information, contact

The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) Drinking Water Safety Program is inviting First Nations in BC to submit a proposal to the Our Community, Our Water grant to help support community water awareness day events or activities planned to be held before March 31st, 2022. The objective of the grant is to support awareness and preservation of First Nations’ community drinking water sources. The FNHA will provide grant recipients between $500 and $5,000 maximum. Learn more about the fund, eligibility criteria, and application process here.

For more information, contact


The First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) released a briefing note summarizing the recent IPCC report, Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis. The briefing note provides climate science data, an analysis of the climate crisis, and highlights the need for enhancing the government climate climate change response while affirming First Nations' Inherent Title and Rights.

Provided by the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER), the Indigenous Climate Change Adaptation Planning (ICCAP) Toolkit provides adaptation planning tools for Indigenous individuals and groups interested in learning more. The toolkit is user-friendly to all who have little to no-prior experience in adaptation planning processes.


This summer, the severity of the climate crisis and its toll in BC was clear. In this article, Grand Chief Steward Philip, along with other concerned environmental leaders are addressing the shortcomings of the current CleanBC plan and climate response.

Climate and ecological uncertainty poses great threat to the cultural and ecological richness in the coasts of BC, like the Great Bear Sea and Rainforest. In recognition of these threats, the Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xai’xais, Nuxalk and Wuikinuxv First Nations, Parks Canada and the government of B.C. reached and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU will conduct a study assessing the feasibility of a National Marine Conservation Area Reserve off the Central Coast of BC, in an area of about 14,200 square kilometers.

On the 2nd anniversary of Sumas First Nation’s 5-year Conservation, Guardianship and Harvest Plan, the community has invested in sonar to help with their salmon conservation on their traditional territory. This technology will help the nation estimate salmon stock counts, identify species, and harvesting rates on an annual basis.

Close to 200 organizations in BC gathered to compose a letter titled, "An Urgent Call to the BC Government to Confront the Climate Emergency" outlining 10 emergency actions needing to be demonstrated now. Signatories include the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, the First Nations Summit and the BC Assembly of First Nations.


For climate change-related submissions:

Please contact Patricia Rojas, BCAFN Regional Climate Coordinator at


For water-related submissions:

Please contact Sophia Iliopulos, BCAFN Regional Water Coordinator at


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