Investing in Indigenous Climate Initiatives

Investing in Indigenous Climate Initiatives

The province is supporting a partnership between the Kainai First Nation and The Rockies Institute that will boost climate change education, research and planning in the community.

Minister Shannon Phillips, the Kainai First Nation and The Rockies Institute discuss a new Indigenous climate change program.


The Rockies Institute is a charitable organization that combines knowledge and best practices from around the world to inspire innovative responses to climate change. The Kainai First Nation will use a grant, funded by Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan, to work with The Rockies Institute to better understand climate change and how it affects Indigenous peoples within the Blackfoot Confederacy.

“Indigenous peoples are at the forefront of the effects of climate change, and our government is proud to support projects that can improve resiliency in their communities. This funding will help Kainai First Nation plan for future climate impacts in a water-stressed region while informing government policy and ensuring respectful integration of traditional ecological knowledge.”

~Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office

The $230,000 grant will support the Building Climate Resilience and Adaptation in the Kainai First Nation project, which includes climate education sessions and opportunities for elders and youth to connect and learn about how climate change affects botany and food security.

“We are very happy to be able to build on what we started over a year ago thanks to investments from the Alberta government. This will help our community develop a much-needed climate adaptation plan as well as inspire youth and elders to reconnect in new ways while learning about climate change. We look forward to this learning journey between Blackfoot traditional knowledge and western science.”

~Roy Fox, Chief, Blood Tribe

The funding has already allowed the Kainai First Nation to hire an internal climate change coordinator, Diandra Bruised Head, and will help The Rockies Institute design and deliver an adaptation plan that includes research and recommendations for adjusting to a changing environment.

“This journey is already emerging as a truly collaborative model that will deeply impact the tribe’s ability to adapt to climate change and to inspire others to begin journeys of their own toward a climate-safe future. The Alberta government’s support of the project highlights how local action can have global significance.”

~Laura Lynes, president, The Rockies Institute

“This partnership is an exciting opportunity to increase networks between the Kainai Nation and climate change experts. I am encouraged by the opportunity to use and develop my skills and knowledge to positively impact my community for a successful future in the face of uncertain and unprecedented change.”

~Diandra Bruised Head, in-tribe climate change coordinator, Kainai First Nation

The Building Climate Resilience and Adaptation in the Kainai First Nation project directly supports the provincial government’s efforts on climate change mitigation and adaptation, and will provide crucial insight for future policies and strategies that are more informed, compassionate and community-aware.

Quick facts

  • Alberta’s Indigenous communities have shown a keen interest in climate adaptation and research.
  • In 2015, Alberta’s Climate Leadership Advisory Panel held engagement sessions with 48 First Nations.
  • The resulting Climate Leadership Report spoke to the reality that Indigenous communities experience the impacts of climate change more directly due to location, economic conditions and heavier reliance on the environment.
  • The report recommended that climate leadership revenues be used for projects like Building Climate Resilience and Adaptation in the Kainai First Nation.