Exploring Elders’ and Seniors’ Perceptions of How Climate Change is Impacting Health and Well-being in Rigolet, Nunatsiavut / ᕿᒥᕐᕈᓂᖅ ᐃᓐᓇᐃᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐃᓄᑐᖃᐃᑦ ᐃᓱᒪᔾᔪᓯᖏᓐᓂᒃ ᕆᒍᓚᑦ, ᓄᓇᑦᓯᐊᕗᒻᒥ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓂᒃ ᐊᑦᑐᐃᓂᖃᖅᑎᓪᓗᒍ ᐃᓗᓯᕐᒥᒃ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᖃᓄᐃᓐᖏᓂᖏᓐᓂᒃ

  • Joshua Ostapchuk BSc, MPH Candidate, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
  • Sherilee Harper MSc, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
  • Ashlee Cunsolo Willox PhD, Canada Research Chair in Determinants of Healthy Communities and Assistant Professor in Community Health, Cape Breton University, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Victoria L. Edge MSc, PhD, Adjunct Professor, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
  • Rigolet Inuit Community Government Rigolet Inuit Community Government, Rigolet, Nunatsiavut, Labrador, Canada
Keywords: Elders, Inuit, Indigenous, Nunatsiavut, climate change, environmental change, mixed-methods research, well-being, health, adaptation / ᐃᓐᓇᐃᑦ, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ, ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᑐᑦ, ᓄᓇᑦᓯᐊᕗᑦ, ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓ, ᐊᕙᑎ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓ, ᑲᑎᑕᐹᑦ ᖃᐅᔨᓴᕐᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᐊᐱᖅᑯᑏᑦ, ᐃᓅᑦᑎᐊᕐᓂᖅ, ᐃᓗᓯᓕᕆᓂᖅ


Climate changes are rapidly intensifying and can lead to adverse global health impacts. Indigenous populations are especially vulnerable to climate change because of their dependence on the environment for cultural activities and subsistence. The voices of Inuit Elders and seniors encompass deep wisdom and history; as such, the goal of this research was to examine the perceived impacts of climate and environmental changes on physical, mental, and emotional health, as observed by Elders and seniors in the Inuit community of Rigolet, Nunatsiavut, Labrador, Canada. A mixed-methods approach was used to gather data capturing these local observations, as well as perceived impacts on community health. A community survey was administered in November 2009 (n = 75) and in-depth interviews were conducted with Elders and seniors from January to October 2010 (n = 22). Survey results indicated that Elders and seniors observing changes in weather patterns, water systems, and wildlife were more likely to perceive climate change impacts on health (p < 0.05). Emergent themes from the interviews included: recurring observations of climate change, including changes in temperature, ice, snow, and seasonal timing; impacts on physical health, including reduced physical activity levels and poorer nutrition; impacts on mental and emotional health, including feelings of isolation and depression; and an identified need for community-wide adaptation. This research emphasized the importance of understanding Elder-specific perspectives of climate-health relationships in the Canadian North to develop sustainable, culturally relevant adaptation strategies to mitigate health impacts related to climate change.

ᓯᓚᐅᑉ  ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓ  ᓱᒃᑲᓕᔪᒃᑯᑦ  ᐱᕙᓪᓕᐊᕗᖅ  ᐊᒻᒪᓗ  ᓯᓚᕐᔪᐊᕐᒥ  ᐊᑦᑕᓇᖅᑐᒃᑯᑦ  ᐊᑦᑐᐃᔪᓐᓇᖅᑯᖅ  ᐃᓗᓯᓕᕆᓂᒃᑯᑎᒍᑦ.  ᓯᓚᕐᔪᐊᕐᒥ  ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᑑᔪᑦ  ᐊᑦᑐᖅᑕᐅᓂᖅᐹᖑᔪᓐᓇᖅᑯᑦ  ᐊᕙᑎᒥᓂᒃ  ᑕᑎᖃᕐᓂᕐᒥᓄᑦ,  ᐱᖅᑯᓯᖏᑎᒍᑦ  ᐊᒻᒪᓗ  ᐱᓇᓱᐊᖅᐸᓐᓂᖏᑎᒍᑦ.  ᐃᓄᐃᑦ  ᐃᓐᓇᐃᑦ  ᐃᓐᓇᑐᖃᐃᓪᓗ  ᓂᐱᖏᑦ  ᓯᓚᑐᓂᕐᒥᒃ  ᑐᓐᖓᕕᖃᖅᑯᑦ  ᐊᒻᒪᓗ  ᐊᑐᖅᓯᒪᔭᖃᖅᑯᑦ;  ᓲᕐᓗ  ᐆᒧᖓ  ᖃᐅᔨᓴᕐᓂᕐᒧᑦ  ᑐᕌᒐᖃᖅᑎᓪᓗᒍ  ᓯᓚᐅᑉ  ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓂᒃ  ᐊᑦᑐᐃᔾᔪᑕᐅᔪᓂᒃ  ᐊᒻᒪᓗ  ᖃᓄᖅ  ᐊᕙᑎᐅᑉ  ᑕᐅᑦᑐᖓ,  ᐃᓱᒪᒃᑯᑦ  ᐊᒻᒪᓗ  ᐃᓗᓯᓕᕆᓂᒃᑯᑎᒍᑦ,  ᐃᓐᓇᐃᑦ  ᑕᑯᓐᓇᖅᑕᖃᖅᑯᑦ  ᐃᓄᐃᑦ  ᓄᓇᓕᖓᓂ  ᕆᒍᓚᑦ,  ᓄᓇᑦᓯᐊᕗᒻᒥ,  ᓛᐸᑐᐊᒥ,  ᑲᓇᑕᒥ.  ᑲᑎᑕᐹᓂᑦ  ᖃᐅᔨᓴᕐᓂᕐᒧᑦ  ᐊᖅᑯᑏᑦ  ᓄᓇᓕᒻᒥ  ᑕᑯᓐᓇᒐᐅᕗᑦ  ᐊᒻᒪᓗ  ᑕᑯᓐᓇᑕᒃᑯᑦ  ᓄᓇᓕᒻᒥ  ᐃᓗᓯᓕᕆᓂᒃᑯᑦ  ᐊᑦᑐᖅᑕᐅᓂᐅᔪᑦ.  ᓄᓇᓕᒻᒥ  ᐊᐱᖅᓲᑎ  ᓄᕕᐱᕆ  2009ᒥ  ᐃᖏᕐᕋᓂᖃᔪᕗᖅ  (n = 75)  ᐊᒻᒪᓗ  ᐃᓗᑐᔪᓂᑦ  ᐊᐱᖅᓲᑎᖃᔪᕗᑦ  ᐃᓐᓇᕐᓄᑦ  ᐃᓄᑐᖃᕐᓄᓪᓗ  ᔮᓐᓄᐊᓕᒻᒥᑦ  ᐅᑐᐱᕆᒧᑦ  2010ᒥ (n = 22). ᐊᐱᖅᓲᑎᒧᑦ  ᑭᒡᒍᓯᐅᔪᔪᑦ  ᓇᓗᓇᐃᖅᓯᔪᕗᑦ  ᐃᓄᑐᖃᐃᑦ  ᑕᑯᔭᖃᖅᓯᒪᓂᖏᓐᓂᒃ  ᓯᓚᐅᑉ  ᖃᓄᐃᓐᓂᖓᑕ  ᐊᓯᔾᔨᕐᓂᖏᓐᓂᑦ,  ᐃᒪᐅᓪᓗ  ᐊᒻᒪᓗ  ᐆᒪᔪᐃᑦ  ᑕᒪᒃᑯᐊ  ᐊᑦᑐᐃᔪᑦ  ᐃᓄᐃᑦ  ᐃᓗᓯᕆᔭᖏᓐᓂᒃ  (p < 0.05).  ᓲᔪᕐᓇᑐᓪᓗ  ᐊᓚᒃᑲᔪᔪᑦ  ᐊᐱᖅᓲᑕᐅᔪᔪᓂᑦ  ᐃᓗᓕᖃᐅᕐᓂᖓᓄᑦ  ᒪᑯᓂᖓ:  ᓲᔪᕆᔭᐅᕙᑦᑐᑦ  ᓯᓚᐅᑉ  ᐊᓯᔾᔨᕐᓂᖓᓄᑦ;  ᓂᓪᓚᓱᓐᓂᕐᒧᑦ  ᐆᖅᑰᓇᕐᓂᒧᓪᓗ;  ᓂᓚᐅᑉ,  ᐊᐳᑎᐅᑉ  ᐊᒻᒪᓗ  ᐅᐱᕐᖔᑉ,  ᐅᑭᐅᑉ  ᐊᓰᓐᓇᓕᓂᖏᓐᓂᒃ; ᐊᑦᑐᐃᔾᔪᑕᐅᔪᓪᓗᑎ  ᑎᒥᒧᑦ   ᐃᓗᓯᓕᕆᓂᕐᒧᑦ;  ᐃᓱᒪᒧᑦ  ᐊᒻᒪᓗ  ᐃᓱᒪᒃᑯᑦ  ᐃᓗᓯᓕᕆᓂᕐᒨᖓᔪᑦ,  ᐃᓚᓕᐅᑦᑐᒋᑦ  ᐃᑉᐱᓐᓂᐊᔾᔪᑎᑦ  ᐃᓄᑑᓕᐅᑎᓂᕐᒧᑦ  ᐊᒻᒪᓗ  ᓄᒫᓱᓐᓂᒃᑯᑦ  ᐊᒻᒪᓗ;  ᑭᓐᖒᒪᑦᑎᓂᖅᓄᓇᓕᒻᒥ  ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᕐᒧᑦ  ᖃᓄᖅᑑᕈᑎᓂᒃ.  ᐅᓇ  ᖃᐅᔨᓴᕐᓂᖅ  ᓇᓗᓇᐃᖅᓯᓚᐅᖅᑯᖅ  ᐱᓪᓗᕆᑦᑐᓂᒃ  ᑐᑭᓯᐅᒪᔾᔪᑎᓂᒃ  ᐃᓐᓇᕐᓄᑦ  ᐃᓱᒪᒋᔾᔪᑕᐅᓯᒪᔪᓂᒃ  ᓯᓚᐅᑉ  ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖓᓄᑦ  ᐃᓗᓯᓕᕆᓂᕐᒧᑦ  ᐊᑦᑐᐊᓂᖃᖅᑎᓪᓗᒋᑦ  ᑲᓇᑕᐅᑉ  ᐅᑭᐅᖅᑕᖅᑐᖓᓂ  ᑐᕌᒐᖃᕐᓂᐊᑎᓪᓗᒋᑦ  ᑲᔪᓯᐅᒪᔾᔪᑎᔅᓴᓂᒃ,  ᐱᖅᑯᓯᖅᑎᒍᑦ  ᐊᑲᕐᕆᔪᓂᒃ  ᐅᐸᓗᖓᐃᔭᕈᑎᓂᒃ  ᐊᑦᑐᖅᑕᐅᓂᑭᓐᓂᖅᓴᐅᖁᓪᓗᒋᑦ  ᐃᓗᓯᓕᕆᓂᒃᑯᑦ  ᐃᑉᐱᓐᓂᕈᑎᓂᒃ  ᓯᓚ  ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᑎᓪᓗᒍ.