Indigenous Families
  • 03 May 2021
  • 2 Minutes to read
  • Dark
  • PDF

Indigenous Families

  • Dark
  • PDF

Article Summary

Indigenous Families


Nearly 95% of Indigenous community residents are of indigenous origin, and they tend to be younger and middle-aged families living in remote communities. The segment stands out for having few couples without children, many lone-parent families, and more than three times the national average of multi-generational households. More than 70 percent of residents live in single-detached homes, of which about 20 percent is band housing. While unemployment is higher than average, most adults are in the labour force and earn lower-middle incomes. Residents take advantage of their bucolic settings by fishing, hunting, power boating and snowmobiling, though they also attend sports events and local festivals or auto/home shows. Passionate about maintaining their cultural traditions, many serve as volunteers.

What they think about climate change

Indigenous families in rural areas know all about the importance of environmental conservation: those who live more traditional lifestyles are already walking the walk. They are also the ones seeing the effects of climate change on their territories. With sea levels rising and the salination of freshwater, changing ecosystems are affecting Indigenous families’ food security, and the hunting and fishing they have done for centuries. These individuals might be very informed about climate change and might sometimes get involved in mitigation efforts and activism. These groups that are active in environmental issues may welcome the opportunity to adopt solutions and to be active participants on climate action by sharing their culture. However, not all Indigenous families are actively involved in environmental protection. You might find some, similar to the folk around town, are disengaged because they are more focused on putting food on the table. Disenfranchisement and a lack of trust from their experiences with colonialism might also be a barrier to communicating with these families.

Top Issues

  • Transit expansion
  • Icreased trips by transit
  • Residential retrofits
  • Wind turbines
  • Solar PV and ground mount

How to Talk to Them about Climate Change

"You are unique knowledge-holders and partners in our fight against climate change. We respect your rights and want to work with you to mitigate the effects of climate change. Your community are important stewards and partners in climate change mitigation. Our decision-making is inclusive, our stakeholders' and rights' holders voices are important to building a future of mutual respect for each other and the environment."


Case Study: Thunder Bay’s EarthCare program connected municipal employees directly with members of the community. They created working groups, each with a different focus on climate, to discuss impacts already being experienced and find community-based solutions for addressing them.

Resource: Canadian Wind Energy Association’s best practice guide for Indigenous and public engagement. This guide provides a detailed framework for engaging with Indigenous communities on wind projects, though much of its guidance can also be applied to communication on other climate change activities.

Your browser does not support here to download

Resource: 9 Indigenous relations best practice must-dos for project proponents

Was this article helpful?