VANCOUVER, BC: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler will highlight the impacts of climate change across NAN territory and outline how First Nations must be fully engaged in Canada’s adaptation to a low-carbon economy as First Nation leaders prepare for the First Ministers’ Meeting in Vancouver this week.
“Changes to the natural environment are being observed across Nishnawbe Aski and the impacts are threatening the sustainability of our First Nations,” said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. “We are encouraged that the Prime Minister has committed to hearing from Indigenous leaders and this meeting is a positive first step. NAN is prepared to contribute to the development of global solutions but the governments of Ontario and Canada must come to the table through a tripartite arrangement if progress is to be made.”
NAN territory encompasses approximately two-thirds of the Province of Ontario. The majority of NAN’s 49 First Nations are remote, accessible only by air and seasonal winter roads.
Many NAN First Nations are not yet connected to the provincial power grid and rely on diesel-generated electricity. A diminishing winter road season means that vital supplies of fuel are unable to reach many communities, leaving them in jeopardy of losing electricity during cold winter months.
The winter road network is a vital link for transporting necessities of life including food and fuel, and their increasing instability is having a substantial financial impact on these isolated communities while creating hazardous conditions for traditional activities on the land.
“NAN recognises that climate change is a threat to the global community but any discussion on climate change must include engagement with our communities, recognition of our distinct world view, and the full involvement our people in accordance with Article 29 the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said Fiddler.
Other impacts of climate change observed in NAN territory include flooding in the East and increased forest fire activity in the West, warmer winter temperatures, more extreme weather events (lightning, heavier snowfall, tornados) and melting of the permafrost.
For more information please contact: Michael Heintzman, Director of Communications – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (807) 625-4965 or (807) 621-2790 mobile or by email [email protected]