This course invites learners into deeper thinking, reflection and content pertaining to Indigenous perspectives in climate adaptation and mitigation. Ultimately, this course provides a space for you to consider how and where Indigenous leadership can not only restore better-practice across social and political landscapes, but also heal relationships with our shared planet for future generations to come.

The course was designed by a team of Indigenous knowledge holders, Indigenous and non-Indigenous subject matter experts, and instructional designers. Throughout the design process, the intention was to craft a self-directed, accessible course that in its structure and its content, to the best of our ability, reflects Indigenous values. No single course can cover the multiplicity of Indigenous perspectives, knowledge, voices, and cultural practices, so our aspirational goal for those who engage in this course, is that this will serve as a solid foundation from which to do more learning. Learning, of course, is the first step. But learning is only useful when it is translated into practice, and we hope that this course will encourage decolonized approaches to climate adaptation and climate action more generally.

Throughout the course there are hyperlinks to other excellent resources that elaborate further on specific ideas or concerns and suggested activities that we hope will deepen and extend the learning through practice and reflection. We also had the great privilege of interviewing five Indigenous knowledge keepers who generously shared their perspectives, wisdom, and expertise. The work of climate mitigation and environmental planning not only requires us to think our way into long-term solutions, but also asks us to feel our way into how we rethink values of respect, consent, dignity and care amongst all relations across our shared planet. The voices presented in this course represent vast and comprehensive knowledge expertise within the field of climate mitigation. They also represent and embody the teachings specific to their own specific lands, waters and territories. It is an honour and a privilege to include them as our teachers in this course and to centre their knowledge within the fields of climate mitigation and environmental futurity.

These interviews are available in their entirety and we invite each learner to listen to the stories that are created in the conversation between Indigenous Relations and Management Consultant, Janis Brooks, and the interviewees. We have also hyperlinked specific clips from these interviews throughout the course, as a way of elaborating, underscoring, or providing examples of ideas being discussed in the text. Learning is an iterative process and we invite you to perhaps begin the course by listening to these video-interviews in their entirety as a way of entering into the conversation, and returning to these interviews at the end of the course as learning changes the listening.

The knowledge holders that have participated in interviews as part of the course are:

Chief Gordon Planes
My traditional name is HYA-QUATCHA named after his great grandfather from Scia-new, (CHEE-A-NEW), THE SALMON PEOPLE. Gordon has been elected Chief of T’Sou-ke (SAA-UKE) nation for the last 10 years, he sits on many boards encompassing the Salish Sea.

Coralee Miller
“I am a Syilx (Okanagan) artist who portrays cultural pride through my paintings. I gain inspiration from my family and the oral stories from my community. I explore oral stories as a way of looking deeper into Syilx cultural values and bridging their moral lessons into a modern day understanding. I focus on moments of humour and the importance of humility through the ever boastful and immortal trickster spirit, Senklip (Coyote). What I take from the Coyote stories is the importance of identity, being true to ourselves and remembering that we are all fallible. In Syilx belief, people are part of an interwoven relationship between the land, water, animal, and spirit. I do my best to portray this relationship in my paintings by depicting scenes of connectedness between the natural world and the spiritual.”

Clyde Tallio
Snxakila (Clyde Tallio), teacher of traditional Nuxalk culture at the Acwsalcta School of Learning in Bella Coola. The ancestral Home Land of the Tallio Family is at Talyu on South Bentinck Arm. Snxakila leads the Nuxalk Rediscovery Camp which takes young Nuxalkmc to traditional sites in Nuxalk Territory such as Talyu.

Elijah Mecham
I am a Bella Coola, Nuxalk Member having grown up in the Valley since birth. I graduated and left the Valley to pursue my dreams of working in Clean Energy. I left in 2014 for 5 years, living in northern BC and working on some of the largest wind turbines in North America. In 2019, I decided it was time to move home and support my own region in whatever capacity I could in advancing clean energy projects and climate solutions. This is where I found that my own community runs a Clean Energy Department out of the Nuxalk Nation working to accelerate the transition from diesel generated power to clean energy. I eagerly applied and found myself a Community Engagement Coordinator working for my people. After a few short months, I have become deeply engaged in several different projects related to clean energy and climate action. These projects include; Hydro Generation, Solar installations, Hydroponics, and climate change adaptation initiatives.

David Isaac
David Isaac, also known as Wugadusk (Northern Lights) by his traditional name, is a Mi’kmaq originally from Listuguj, Québec but was raised in Vancouver within the traditional territory of the Coast Salish peoples. He has been a long-time advocate for Indigenous health, the environment and has previously served as the Executive Director for the Vancouver Native Health Society as well as the Centre for Native Policy & Research. Most recently, he joined the board of IC-IMPACTS (the India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability) and the Federal government’s Cleantech Economic Strategy Table (ISED) and regularly contributes to national energy policy debate and formation.

“We’re not sharing our knowledge with outsiders so they can just take it and go. We’re sharing it so that way we can create something that works for us all”

-Elijah Mecham


Listen: Community Voices

Take a listen here to each of the speakers as they introduce themselves:

Chief Gordon Planes

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Chief Gordon Planes Introduction – Transcript

Coralee Miller

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Coralee Miller Introduction – Transcript

David Isaac

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David Isaac Introduction – Transcript

Clyde Tallio and Elijah Mecham: 


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Clyde Tallio & Elijah Mecham – Introductions – Transcript

You can find the complete interviews with each of these knowledge keepers in the Appendix.



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Indigenous Knowledges and Perspectives on Climate Adaptation Copyright © by Royal Roads University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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