Fort Good Hope, NWT

Our Land, Our Life, Our Future: Community Health, Climate Change & Community Based Adaptation Solutions toward Wellness

Community History – The History of Our People

Fort Good Hope is a community located on the banks of the Deh Cho (Mackenzie River) with a population of 568. The community is predominately a K’asho Gotine Dene community, with Métis, Inuvialuit and Gwich’in community members as well. Fort Good Hope has a rich history of political leadership and cultural activities such as drumming. Fort Good Hope has a large youth population, and due to its remote location, it has limited access to extra – curricular activities, arts, sports and travel. In Fort Good Hope, many people living today were born and raised out on the land and many families continue with their traditional livelihood by going out to bush camps and fish camps and on spring and fall community hunts.

There is very limited research done on the impacts of climate change in Dene communities in Canada. While there is an abundance of literature on the health impacts of climate change Inuit communities, Dene community research on the health impacts of climate change is virtually non-existent. This is very important research as there are over 10,585 Dene in Canada, many of whom live in the Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory. There is no published community-based and certainly no-youth led research around the health impacts of climate change in Dene communities in the NWT. Therefore, this project was both unique and timely.

Project Summary – How We Are Leading the Way

The key objective of this project was to expand on current community research capacity and to establish an inter-community learning network to share results and work towards solutions to climate change and health impacts on community. The Fort Good Hope Youth Video Research Crew (YVRC) was created and trained as part of the Sustainability’s Paradox, a University of Oxford PhD research project partnered with the Fort Good Hope Elders Council and Arctic Health Research Network (AHRN) to continue video research in the area of climate change, health impacts and health adaptations starting in December of 2008- April 2009. The YVRC carried out interviews both in the community and out on the land with youth, Elders, leaders, hunters and trappers at the Our North, Our Future Youth Gathering in Tuktoyaktuk and with the Fort Good Hope On-the-Land-Gathering pilot project. Interviews were carried out and the youth then watched and edited the videos, looking for common themes and results and suggested adaptations and actions. The youth learned to engage critically with the issue of climate change, of ways these impacts affect health, and of what steps can be taken to adapt to these changes to enhance and support wellness and health in the community and region.

The project found that there are many changes happening on the land for many reasons.

  • Learning and education and sharing information where noted as important adaptations, as were harvesting and learning about traditional food and Dene Laws as well as cooperation and working together.
  • There is a large enthusiasm from youth to learn more about the land and how to take care of it and to be included more in community decisions about the future.
  • Overall, climate change is happening, the changes affect health and many suggestions were made, the majority of which focus on youth learning more about taking care of the land, being out on the land to become strong people and using the land for food.

Capacity Building – Connecting the Guidance of the Past with the Needs of Today

Conference/ Workshop Presentations

The Fort Good Hope Youth Video Research Crew (YVRC) presented their findings and shared their method of video research at the Our North, Our Future Youth Gathering in Tuktoyatuk Gathering with students from Aklavik, Tuktoyaktuk, and Inuvik the FGH team showed the video “What changes have you seen in Fort Good Hope” to facilitate a discussion about what they had been doing, what people had reported and what they would do next. The group then shared what changes they had heard about in their communities. Through a video workshop, which taught how to use the camera and basic editing, the youth shared what climate change they had seen and how it had affected their communities and what could be done about it in the future.

Capacity was built in:

  • Research capacity (designing and carrying out basic social science research, determining questions, planning and carrying out interviews)
  • Media (camera, editing)
  • Organizing and carrying out projects
  • Youth goal setting and achievement
  • Public engagement, media and sharing information
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Analyzing data and carrying out follow-up interviews

More capacity needs to be built in:

  • Project management

See what went on at Our North, Our Future Youth Gathering in Tuktoyatuk at www.ournorthourfuture.blogspot.com

Next Steps – How We Are Adapting to Climate Change

  • The YVRC will present the end results and report to council and plan for next steps as a community. These next steps will be outlined in a new funding action proposal.
  • FGH YVRC will be sharing their results at the ACUNS student conference in September in Whitehorse as guided by the community.
  • The YVRC in collaboration with the University of Oxford and Insight U.K was invited to travel to Oxford to edit with Indigenous representatives from five countries and then traveling to Copenhagen for the COP 15 Climate Negotiations to present their last three years of work from both Sustainability’s Paradox and Climate Change and Health Adaptations. This trip included a reception and screening of the work at Canada House hosted by the Canadian High Commission.

 

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Community Profile

Region:
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Population:
515 (2011 Census)
Land Area:
47.14 sq km
Website:
link

Project Information

Years Funded:
Topic Area:
Contact:
Erin Freeland (efreelandballantyne@gmail.com)

Map Location