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Research project being done to better understand wildfire impact on indigenous communities

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7
Research project being done to better understand wildfire impact on indigenous communities

Peter Fortna (middle) joined by leaders of the key indigenous communities // Jaryn Vecchio - Harvard Broadcasting

Starting today, the 12 key indigenous communities in the RMWB are joining forces to bring a new information project to indigenous people throughout the region.

Though it is yet to have a permanent name, the project will help rebuild resilient indigenous communities by accessing the social, economic, cultural and political impacts the wildfire had on indigenous peoples.

“So we’ll be talking to individuals who are specifically affected whether they lost their homes, whether they were affected in other ways,” said Peter Fortna, Research Coordinator.

A key issue they discovered after returning was the lack of information each group had on their community members. This project will help build a contact list so they can get in contact with all peoples if another natural disaster were to happen.

“It’s also to put forward lessons learned for the rest of the country so if a disaster were to ever strike anywhere else in Canada, if they were to implement some of the lessons that were learned from this wildfire they could effectively respond,” said Fortna.

Other factors of the project will be identifying community priorities, key sources of vulnerability in indigenous communities and potential sources of community resilience.

A big factor will be talking to the indigenous peoples, being estimated roughly around 10,000 in the region, listening to their stories and pointing them in the right direction to help with their recovery.

The project is expected to last 18 months while being funded directly by the Canadian Red Cross.

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