Understanding how a hunting ban affects food security in Tlicho

Kimberly D. Fairman, Executive Director, Institute for Circumpolar Health Research

Kimberly Fairman

On January 1, 2010, the Government of the Northwest Territories imposed a ban on hunting caribou, as a result of the impacts of climate change on the animal’s migration and reproductive habits in the area. Indigenous residents in Tlicho’s five communities have been deeply affected by this ban, as caribou are an integral part of their traditional culture – providing food, clothing, and fur that helps support them.

Thanks to CIHR funding, Ms. Kimberly Fairman is developing a community-based research framework to investigate the impact of this legislative ban on Indigenous peoples in Tlicho. She will first collaborate with Elders in the area to develop questions for conversations with residents. Following those consultations, Ms. Fairman will host meetings in all five communities to gather information on how Indigenous peoples have traditionally lived, hunted and dealt with the loss of food in the past. This process will allow Tlicho residents to identify 2-3 priority areas that can be addressed to help ensure food security. It is also hoped that these interactions will allow community members to feel more comfortable with such research methods, and inspire some Indigenous youth to consider careers in science.

“Communities have their own knowledge systems,” said Ms. Fairman. “Through this grant, we’re sponsoring collaborative research with Indigenous people in Tlicho that demonstrates: ‘I believe in them, I value their work, and I’m going to support the promotion of their ideas so that their health will improve in various ways.’”

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