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From Glaciers to Glass Sponge Reefs: Kitsumkalum on Climate Change & Food Security

2018 – Kitsumkalum First Nation

The Kitsumkalum have lived from the natural resources in their land and marine resources since time immemorial. They have adapted to the changes in the climate that occurred over millennia. They passed down this traditional knowledge to their children and their children’s children as not only as a means of survival for the tribe but also as an essential component of the management of the land, the sea, and the resources within. Climate change continues to occur but now in an extraordinarily short‐time scale. Things are changing so fast that the plants and animals do not have a chance to adapt to the new conditions and they are quickly disappearing. Traditional knowledge of migration routes, salmon run timing, even the harvest season for seaweed and cockles is no longer conforming to the old ways, and there are profound changes to the food itself. The fish are smaller, the runs are late, the moose are full of parasites and the clam shells are thinner than they have ever been. The security of the food is no longer assured by the traditional knowledge of the elders.

The Kitsumkalum Fish and Wildlife Operations Department wants to know why, and understand what can be done to mitigate this onslaught of change. They have initiated a program designed to study the effects that the changing climate is having on Kitsumkalum Traditional Territory.

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