Indigenous knowledge, research are key to protecting the Arctic

News release

Minister Duncan, Governor General wrap up a successful visit to Canada’s North

August 31, 2018 – Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut

Bridging the gap between Indigenous knowledge and Arctic research will help the government better understand the unique challenges faced by the people who live in the Canadian Arctic. Climate change is one of many such challenges. Combining research results with the generations of knowledge gathered by local communities will help to protect the northern environment and the culture of the people who call it home.

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, accompanied Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, on a three-day visit to Canada’s Arctic that focused on Arctic research and Indigenous knowledge.

This visit was an opportunity for the Minister to highlight the importance of science and long-term data collection to understanding environmental challenges, particularly climate change, and the importance of working with Inuit and northerners to address these issues. Indigenous knowledge enhances our understanding of the Arctic and helps the government provide solutions to make northern communities more resilient to the effects of climate change.

The Minister also met with His Worship Stevie Komoartok, Mayor of Pangnirtung, Nunavut, and members of the community to discuss issues the region faces.

The visit included a 36-hour expedition on the Arctic Ocean aboard Canada’s research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen, which coincided with the 15th anniversary of Amundsen Science. During the expedition, the Minister had the chance to witness first-hand the Arctic marine-based research conducted by ArcticNet and to discuss climate change research with the scientists and students aboard the vessel. 


“I want to thank Governor General Julie Payette for the generous invitation to join her on this important expedition to the Arctic. Through such first-hand experiences, we can better understand the issues faced by Inuit communities and northern residents, and we will continue encouraging stronger partnerships that help bridge the gap between Indigenous knowledge and research.”

– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

Quick facts

  • Budget 2018 is providing the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada with $3.8 million in 2018–19 to develop a strategic plan that identifies new ways of doing research with Indigenous communities.

  • Budget 2018 is also providing $20.6 million over four years to POLAR Knowledge Canada to support the Canadian High Arctic Research Station campus and enable world-class cutting-edge research that strengthens Canadian leadership in polar science and technology.

  • The Canadian research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen provides a platform for scientists to explore the vast reaches of the Arctic.

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Ann Marie Paquet
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science and Sport

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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