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Over the last 13 years, First Nations communities in Canada have experienced over 1,300 emergencies, leading to over 580 evacuations, and affecting over 130,000 people. Furthermore, Indigenous Services Canada spends up to 3.5 times more on response and recovery from emergences than on preparedness and mitigation activities. A better approach is needed.

Source: https://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_202211_08_e_44154.html

Calian is committed to pursuing meaningful engagement with First Nations communities in preparing for and responding to emergencies. Read on to learn about our research efforts toward this goal in partnership with the University of Manitoba.

University of Manitoba Research Project—Integrating Local Knowledge and Emergency Preparedness

Calian funded a research project through the University of Manitoba addressing Indigenous engagement in the field of emergency management—focused on how Indigenous communities are consulted before, during and after emergencies to assist in preventative, mitigative and reactive measures. The project completed a comprehensive literature review of existing research in this field.

It was important to Calian for the project to be led by an Indigenous research team. The project—conducted by University of Manitoba student Tia Wilson and supervised by Assistant Professor Daniel Henhawk—identified areas where the intersection of Indigenous knowledge and emergency preparedness best practices has been effective or faced challenges. This groundwork will play a central role toward building effective relationships that support emergency management practices meeting the unique needs of Indigenous communities.

The eventual goal of the project is to support a framework for Indigenous community engagement centered around both Indigenous knowledges and emergency preparedness best practices. The framework will enable pathways for communication and mutual understanding from all sides, acknowledging that existing emergency preparedness protocols were often designed without consideration for Indigenous ways of knowing. For example, Indigenous communities have intimate understandings of local roads, watercourses, weather patterns and other relevant factors.

“Indigenous knowledge does not need to work alone,” says Tia Wilson (Graduate Student,

Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management (University of Manitoba). “It can work in tandem with Western knowledges to help communities best equip themselves and respond to emergencies”.

The infographic provides an overview of information that is important to consider when engaging Indigenous communities. In the context of emergency preparedness, this information can provide a basic framework to help guide the development of processes that engage communities and build ethical relationships while recognizing the complexity of issues when working with Indigenous communities.

Conclusion

Calian is proud to support initiatives aiming to bridge gaps and carve new ways forward, but we recognize there is more work to do. We look forward to expanding this research in keeping with our Indigenous Engagement Policy and better meet the needs of partners, suppliers, companies and communities in this space.

For more information on the development of Indigenous engagement in relation to emergency preparedness and emergency management, view the infographic here.

Calian’s commitment to pursuing meaningful engagement with First Nations communities in the emergency management space demonstrates our commitment to the Calian ESG vision: Collaboration to Advance Resilience Excellence and Sustainability—Calian CARES™