Local observations of climate change and impacts on traditional food security in two northern Aboriginal communities.

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Guyot, Melissa ; Dickson, Cindy ; Paci, Chris ; Furgal, Chris ; Chan, Hing Man (2006)
  • Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
  • Journal: International Journal of Circumpolar Health (issn: 1797-237X)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/ijch.v65i5.18135
  • Subject: climate change, traditional food, aboriginal communities, food security
    mesheuropmc: skin and connective tissue diseases | sense organs | digestive, oral, and skin physiology

Objectives. Our primary objective was to record participant observations of changes in the localenvironment, harvesting situations and traditional food species and to explore what impact thesemay have on traditional food.Study Design. A participatory study with 2 northern Aboriginal communities in Canada.Methods. Focus groups were conducted in both communities. Both specific and open-endedquestions were asked, to gather information about the traditional food harvest and a qualitativeanalysis was conducted.Results. Members from both communities are witnessing variable changes in climate that areaffecting their traditional food harvest. New species and changes in migration of species beingobserved by community members have the potential to affect the consumption of traditional food.Similarly, changes in water levels in and around harvesting areas are affecting access to harvestareas, which in turn affects the traditional food harvest.Conclusions. Community members have been required to change their harvest mechanisms toadapt to changes in climate and ensure an adequate supply of traditional food. A strong commitmentto programs that will ensure the protection of traditional food systems is necessary.(Int J Circumpolar Health 2006; 65(5) 403-415).Keywords: climate change, traditional food, aboriginal communities, food security
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