An Indigenous studies professor who is a member of the Cumberland House Swampy Cree First Nation in northern Saskatchewan has been awarded a climate change fellowship from the David Suzuki Foundation.
Priscilla Settee teaches at the University of Saskatchewan.
“I made a vow that I was going to do something to get back there and talk to them further and really try and promote their story about their concerns on the land, so I made an application to David Suzuki and lo and behold I got it,” she said.
Settee has her Ph’d in Indigenous studies and will be studying the affects of climate change on trapping in the north.
She said she applied for the fellowship after she was researching a paper about food sovereignty and realized the importance of the issue.
When she was doing research and talking to northern trappers they opened up to her about how climate change is jeopardizing their way of life.
The foundation is providing her with $45,000 to travel to the north and interview trappers to write a publication and perhaps produce a video documentary.
“I did propose that we do a film but you know the cost of films is great so if I can get assistance to do that I am certainly going to try very hard,” Settee said.
Settee said she realizes the impact a documentary can make to bring this concern to the public.
“But the important piece will be the interviews and the publication that I do on behalf of the trappers telling their story listening to what their concerns are talking about the impact of climate change and environmental devastation basically,” she said.
Settee plans to make several trips to the north to meet with trappers and gather the information.
She has until next October to finish her fellowship and she will be cutting back on her workload at the University of Saskatchewan to complete the fellowship.
When Settee was first meeting with northern trappers it was apparent water contamination and clear cutting for development are top concerns affecting northern trappers.
“Some of them were almost in tears describing what development is doing to their region and it wasn’t just one or 2 trappers it was entire circle that I interviewed that they were all really concerned about it.”