First Nations Adapt Program (FNAP)
This program provides funding to First Nation communities/organizations located below the 60th parallel to assess and respond to climate change impacts on community infrastructure and emergency management. First Nation communities are particularly at risk because often their location, ageing infrastructure, and close ties to the land.
The program aims to support the gathering of Indigenous knowledge, community involvement in planning processes and building capacity within communities to conduct work and monitor the changing climate. The program focuses on key priority areas resulting from the current and future changing climate impacts on First Nation infrastructure and emergency management.
The central goal of the program is to improve community resiliency to climate change by improving knowledge of the issues facing communities so they can better plan for the future.
The First Nations’ Emergency Services Society (FNESS) is currently advancing a multi-year project whereby climate change concerns, including wildfires and drought, will be explored with Bridge River Indian Band in Years 1 and 2 (FY2017/2018 and FY2018/2019) and Shackan Indian Band in Year 2 (FY2018/2019). The objectives of this study are: 1) conduct and analyze qualitative interviews with community members and 2) co-develop a community-based burn management plan customized for the community.
Community members with cultural burning knowledge are selected to be interviewed. In the past, these members burned areas in order to enhance berry-production and foraging for deer, medicine plants, etc. Each community will have different goals and objectives. Our research determined that burning for the reasons stated above is no longer done. A majority of the burning carried out today is for hazard reduction a practice that has reduced significantly over the past 10 years.
Content analysis of the interviews involves analyzing the transcripts to search for similarities and patterns in locations where communities burned in the past and/or present and when and how they conducted the burn and for what reasons.
With this information we can develop a custom community-based burn plan for each community. It will be designed to be a template to be used yearly and will include plans for burning areas on-reserve as well as on adjacent crown land. Culturally relevant values will be a key component of the final burn plan developed for the community.
The First Nations’ Emergency Services Society (FNESS) is responsible for monitoring and reporting the results to the Department of Indigenous Service Canada.
The First Nations Adapt Project team has been working alongside the Bridge River and Shackan Indian Bands.