In March 2012, Xat’sūll First Nation in the Cariboo region held planning workshops to identify potential climate change impacts, vulnerabilities and opportunities for the community. The workshops were facilitated by the Fraser Basin Council, with funding support of the BC Regional Climate Adaptation Collaborative program, funded by Natural Resources Canada.
Xat’sūll (pronounced “Hat’sull”), also known as the Soda Creek Band, is the northern most Shuswap tribe of the Secwepemc Nation. This First Nation has almost 400 members, is in stage 4 of the Treaty process, and has a number of agreements with third party organizations that have interests on their traditional territory. Climate adaptation planning tied in well with Xat’sūll’s work on a comprehensive community plan, which is focused on sustainability.
Past climate data for the Cariboo indicate that both winter and summer temperatures have risen, with the greater warming trend in winter. It is projected that by 2050 Cariboo summer mean temperatures will increase by 2-2.5°C, while winter mean temperatures will increase by up to 2.5–3.5°C.
Workshop participants canvassed observed changes in the weather over past decades and concerns about a changing climate that relate to road conditions, forestry, wild harvesting, health of fish and wildlife and cultural activities. Also canvassed were how services of Xat’sūll through external agreements could be impacted, and what might be done.