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The Vulnerability of the James Smith and Shoal Lake First Nations to Climate Change and Variability (M.Sc. Thesis, University of Regina)
Pittman, J. 2009 English

First Nations communities, especially those dependent on natural resources, will be faced with the challenge of adapting to changing climate. This thesis identifies the existing sensitivities and coping capacities to climate and other external stressors of two Saskatchewan First Nation communities, James Smith and Shoal Lake. Following the vulnerability approach, the thesis documents and discusses the current and past exposures and adaptive capacities of the two communities. These communities were selected based on their location within the transition from grassland to boreal forest, a natural region in northern Saskatchewan expected to undergo drastic changes in the future due to climate change. A broad range of social, biophysical, environmental, economic and institutional stressors are found in these two First Nations communities. It is not these conditions in isolation that are beneficial or problematic; it is the combination of conditions that creates a context for vulnerability. James Smith First Nation is challenged with adapting to climate change while having multiple band governments operating on one reserve and diamond mine developments encroaching on traditional lands. Shoal Lake First Nation has fewer adaptation options due to its location on marginal land for forestry and agriculture and limited opportunities for youth. Both communities will be presented with many opportunities and challenges. Their ability to effectively respond depends largely on current initiatives that build capacity to deal with future stresses.

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