Climate change will hit the Northwest Territories (NWT) harder than most places in Canada. The Northern NWT has warmed more quickly than the rest of North America and the global average over the past 50 years, and scientists predict that the mean temperature will rise by between 4 and 8 degrees by the 2050s. The changing climate threatens the health, safety, and food security of Indigenous communities such as the Sahtú. Any research in the Sahtu should follow both community-identified research priorities and support community leadership of and participation within that research. The principle that any research should be community-led is what initiated the Nę K’ǝ Dene Ts’ı̨lı̨ (Living on the Land) Forum, a name which emphasizes and articulates the integral link between land stewardship and Dene and Métis identity and wellness.
The Sahtú Renewable Resources Board is one of three co-management boards created by the Sahtú land claim agreement to manage the land wisely. The Board, along with other partners, has used the Nę K’ǝ Dene Ts’ı̨lı̨ Forum to help articulate community and regional research priorities as well as local and regional research governance. Linked to the Forum is the actual on-the-land aspect, which the Sahtú Renewable Resources Board has coined Cross Cultural Research Camps. They follow a similar format to the Forum but are done on the land. The model aims to provide interactive experiences from on-the-land practices and dialogue with traditional knowledge holders combined with science-based research and monitoring techniques and methods. This “two-eyed seeing,” as it is sometimes called, brings a lot more significance and understanding to the discussions and decisions regarding land stewardship, climate change, and the connections the communities have to these areas.