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Ontario Water News

Global Water Futures Funds Research at Six Nations

Global Water Futures is funding a new research collaboration between McMaster University researchers and traditional knowledge holders on Six Nations of the Grand River that focuses on addressing water-related issues of training, wellness, resilience, and governance.

The project, Ohneganos — Indigenous Ecological Knowledge, Training and Co-creation of Mixed Method Tools, is led by Dawn Martin-Hill, the Paul R. MacPherson Chair in Indigenous Studies.

Martin-Hill’s team includes Beverly Jacobs from the University of Windsor, and Lori Davis Hill, Director of Six Nations Health Services, as well as Christine Wekerle, Associate Professor of pediatrics and mental health team leader at McMaster. They and other academic and community partners will work in three teams, training, wellness and governance teams, to address specific areas of interest identified in consultations with Six Nations.

The training team will bridge and combine traditional ecological knowledge and western science when it comes to accredited water management training, and will create bilingual resources to improve communities’ capacity to manage water-related challenges. The wellness team will work to address the impact of water crises on mental health, especially among youth. The governance team will work with community partners to train youth and the community members in water governance and rights in accordance with Indigenous laws.

The projects will produce a bilingual science text for school curriculum; turtle sensors tracking and a mobile application; Two row paddle digital river stories; and an ecosystem inventorying medicines.

Ohneganos and five other three-year projects will share $1.63-million in funding, in addition to 33 Global Water Futures projects that address Indigenous community water issues.

While the overall goal of the Global Water Futures research program is to better prepare for and predict climate change threats and sustainably manage freshwater resources in Canada and cold regions worldwide, these particular projects address unique challenges.

Global Water Futures is a seven-year, University of Saskatchewan-led research program established within the Global Institute for Water Security in 2016 and funded in part by a $77.8-million grant from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. The research goal is to transform the way communities, governments and industries in Canada and other cold regions of the world prepare for and manage increasing water-related threats.

Furthermore, Global Water Futures is the world’s largest university-led freshwater research program. The program is developed and funded in part by three key partners — the University of Waterloo, McMaster University, and Wilfrid Laurier University—and includes hundreds of faculty, researchers and support staff, partners, and 15 Canadian universities.