Indigenous Community-Led Environmental Monitoring Program

 Indigenous Community-Led Environmental Monitoring Program


This project will aim to provide capacity-building services for Indigenous communities to support the establishment of Indigenous-led, community-based environmental monitoring programs. This will allow Indigenous communities to take the lead in collecting data and monitoring the health and condition of their local environment, which can lead to the development of data-based environmental stewardship strategies.

These programs will be supported through capacity building in field sampling, safety, laboratory analyses, data interpretation and use of digital tools developed over the course of the project.  

Project timelines will depend on the needs of the community.

Problem statement

Combine our Indigenous partners’ inherent traditional knowledge and NAIT’s research and expertise to see this vision become a reality. 

Many Indigenous communities live on the frontlines of combined environmental stressors brought about by climate change and industrial development. Indigenous communities strive to develop strategies to mitigate these issues and achieve true, equitable data sovereignty. This is important for communities to be rightfully recognized as true partners and authorities of their own data. It is considered the cornerstone to autonomously developing landscape level management plans. Crucial to achieving this goal is the ability of community members to autonomously monitor their land, generate and interpret data and enact management programs.

Key players

Partner organizations

  • Peavine Métis Settlement, Métis Settlement General Council


Environmental monitoring programs aim to provide communities with information about the effects of different environmental and industrial stressors on the chemical and physical status of aquatic and land ecosystems of which they are stewards.  

Community members will be trained environmental monitors, capable of taking environmental samples from the field and characterizing them using state-of-the-art analytical equipment. They’ll then analyze the data and present the story formed from that data to their communities.

Process overview

  • Research and gain thorough understanding of the needs of each community through respectful conversations with knowledge-keepers and community members
  • Determine baseline of scientific and technical knowledge that each community already holds
  • Collaborate to develop a learning plan and research questions
  • Remain responsive and flexible to individual community environmental needs in freshwater and soil quality monitoring
  • Maintain community relationships and partnerships throughout the process

Outcomes and impact

Community members will be educated and empowered to speak with authority about the environmental stressors affecting their land, supporting their findings with evidence and testimonials. So far 2 youth have been fully trained. 

NAIT will benefit from the different perspectives each community brings to the project by learning new skills, techniques and insight into traditional knowledge that don’t form part of regular curriculum. 

The ongoing impact of this project can be heard through the following interview of both NAIT staff and community members, and as the project progresses we will share additional data and qualitative information.

Listen to our team discuss the project on CBC Listen