The Community of Rigolet
The community of Rigolet is one of five Inuit communities within the Labrador Inuit Land Claim Settlement area (also referred to as Nunatsiavut). The community of Rigolet has a population of 306 people, of whom 95% identify as Inuit (Statistics Canada 2017). The residents of Rigolet continue to lead a semi-subsistence livelihood, depending heavily on hunting, trapping, fishing, and foraging to support their diets, health, and economies.
Rigolet is a leader in climate change and health research, and over the past decade has documented impacts of climate change on health outcomes related to mental health, physical health, food security, and youth resilience. In addition, Rigolet established The ‘My Word:’ Storytelling and Digital Media Lab, the first Inuit-run centre dedicated to digital media and research that has contributed to the development of strong research capacities for participatory climate-health research and health adaptation in the community.
The eNuk Program is, at its heart, a community-led and community-driven program. To research, develop, and implement the program, Rigolet partnered with a team of people working in different disciplines and sectors, including: local researches and community members, local and regional government representatives, healthcare professionals, and researchers from the University of Guelph and the Labrador Institute of Memorial University.
Rigolet and Environmental Change
Since people in Rigolet continue to live a lifestyle that is closely tied to and reliant upon the natural environment, their livelihoods, cultural lifestyles, activities, and health have been significantly impacted by environmental changes. In particular, the shifting environmental conditions have been affecting access to the land around the community, and have been strongly impacting travel conditions, as well as the availability and quality of natural resources and traditional foods. Environmental changes, and the resulting effects have also been strongly impacting mental health and wellness, physical health, food security, and resilience to changing conditions. In short, climate change is a serious issue and of great concern for everyone in Rigolet. Positively adapting to these changes is then, both a major priority and a defining issue, not only for the community of Rigolet and the region, but also across the North.