Climate Change & Health
In Rigolet, and in communities across Nunatsiavut, Inuit are experiencing intense and rapid socio-cultural stresses resulting from climate change. These current stresses take place within the context of underlying socio-economic and health disparities, stemming from a long and enduring history of colonization, forced relocation, land dispossession, political disenfranchisement, and systemic marginalization. When combined, these changes present major challenges to health and wellbeing and are currently disrupting the livelihoods and cultural practices of Inuit in Rigolet, as well as Northern, Indigenous peoples more broadly. This disruption can lead to a range of climate-change-related health impacts.
One strategy for responding and adapting to these changes is the creation of public health monitoring systems. However, existing monitoring systems are not often able to detect and respond to multiple sources of environmental change, nor are they structured to understand the complex nature of environment-sensitive health impacts. Additionally, these systems do not often reflect Inuit cultures, their ways of knowing, values, or priorities, nor are they driven or designed by Inuit. This may lead to gaps in coverage, data quality, and relevance.
Given the rapidity of environmental change in Inuit Nunangat, and Northern Canada more broadly, as well as the way it affects all aspects of Inuit lives and livelihoods, there is a clear need for integrated, community-led, and community-designed environment and health monitoring strategies that include Inuit knowledge sources, and give equal attention to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and wellness, as defined by Inuit themselves.