Learning from Indigenous Leaders: Climate change and public health

Welcome to “Learning from Indigenous Leaders: Climate change and public health”! This video-infographic series shares Indigenous perspectives on climate change, infectious disease, and public health.

You can learn from our speakers through a variety of complementary media:

  • 5 video interviews (1/speaker)
  • 3 infographics summarizing the key themes from interviews
  • 1 take-home messages video from the speakers
  • Continued learning resources


Andrew Arreak, Dr. Brittany Bingham, Maureen Gustafson, Dr. Dawn Martin-Hill, & Dr. Zoe Todd.

Developed By: Sydney Pearce – 2022 KT Boost student award winner

Supported by Susie Taylor

Speakers and Videos

Get to know our incredible speakers to start your learning journey. Each video highlights a single speaker as they answer the following: i) why climate change is important to them, ii) how climate change affects infectious disease public health, iii) how climate change affects Indigenous communities, iv) what public health practitioners can do to support health in the face of climate change, and v) what everyone can respectfully learn from Indigenous Knowledges on this topic.

Andrew Arreak

Andrew Arreak holds a diploma in Environmental Technology from Nunavut Arctic College and is a founding member of Ikaarvik, the Arctic Inspiration Prize winning organization that mentors and supports Indigenous youth to be the bridge between research and their communities. Andrew helped to establish SmartICE in Mittimatalik and continues to be an important member of its operations team in the Qikiqtaaluk region. Andrew’s work on Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit of sea ice and safe ice travel with Sikumiut—the SmartICE community management committee in Mittimatalik—has recently been published in the research journals Arctic Science and Arctic. Andrew is a proud Inuk father of five and enjoys travelling on the land.

Dr. Brittany Bingham

Dr. Brittany Bingham (she/her/hers) is a member of the shíshálh nation and holds an MPH and PhD in Health Sciences from Simon Fraser University. She is the Director of Indigenous Research at Vancouver Coastal Health Indigenous Health, Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity (CGSHE) and an Assistant professor in Social Medicine at UBC. She has worked in various capacities in research with Indigenous communities and policy for over 17 years. She specializes in community-driven research drawing upon Indigenous methods with focus on health equity and improving health experiences and outcomes for Indigenous peoples. Brittany is also passionate about Indigenous women’s health, implementation science, health systems research, cultural safety and reconciliation. Brittany previously worked in Indigenous policy at the BC ministry and has overseen research that examined the transformation of First Nations health governance in BC. Currently, she is PI of a CIHR grant investigating access to sexual health care among Indigenous women/LGBTQ2S+ peoples. Brittany’s program of research aims to make contributions to MMIWG & 2SLGBTQQIA+, TRC and In Plain Sight Calls to Action and Recommendations.

Maureen Gustafson

Maureen (she/her) is Anishinaabekwe with mixed Ojibwe and European settler roots. A member of Couchiching First Nation, she grew up nearby in the town of Fort Frances (Treaty #3 Territory). She is a loving auntie, sister, daughter, cousin, and friend. Maureen obtained a Master of Public Health in Health Promotion with a Collaborative Specialization in Indigenous Health from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto in 2019. She has experience working at at Indigenous-led research institutes in both Canada and Australia as well as organizations dedicated to improving public health in northwestern Ontario. In addition to her role as a Knowledge Translation Specialist for a First Nations Health Data Alliance, Maureen is privileged to serve Indigenous Climate Action as a Member of the National Steering Committee. As an Anishinaabekwe, she understands human health to be inseparable from the health of lands, waters, and animals and is proud to bring this lens to all of the spaces in which she works.

Dr. Dawn Martin-Hill

Dawn is Mohawk and resides at Six Nations of the Grand River with her family. She was the first Indigenous cultural anthropologist in Canada and currently an associate professor in the department of Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Education Council Co-Chair. She founded the Indigenous Studies Program at McMaster University as a graduate student 1990 and an inaugural Indigenous Canada U.S Fulbright Scholar Award, and outstanding teaching Award by the Aboriginal Consortium are just some of her accomplishments. Her current research includes Haudenosaunee access to clean water, traditional ecological knowledge in adressing water insecurity. Her community led research Ohneganos is creating sensors, Indigenous mapping, educational platforms, digital stories to increase capacity in water management and monitoring. Her specific research interests in traditional knowledge naturally highlights solutions in improving quality of life through attention to gender, youth, technology, governance, health and knowledge mobilization. Co-creation of Indigenous Water Quality tools, Indigenous Ecological Knowledge, Training & Co-Creation of Mixed Method Tools and rebranded as Ohneganos.  She was recently a recipient of the Oklahoma Universities Water Technologies Award. She presented at the IPPF-UN with governance team’s community women on environmental rights of Haudenosaunee women to land, water and bodies. She has produced over 30 podcast led by youth,  “Ohneganos” Let’s Talk Water, launched a YouTube channel with digital stories from community and is creating a virtual reality to disseminate Haudenosaunee water knowledge and scientific findings.  She is a new member for Canada of the UNESCO Hydrology Committee, board member of CIHR Indigenous of Indigenous People’s Health, CIHR Anti-Racism Committee and was a Chair in the CIHR College of Reviewers. She has numerous peer-reviewed publications and films.

A few sample publications are:

  • Indigenous Knowledge and Power and The Lubicon Lake Nation, Dawn Martin-Hill, University of Toronto Press, 2007.
  • Doctrine of Discovery: A Mohawk Feminist Response to Colonial Domination and Violations to Indigenous Lands and Women, Rowman and Littlefield Handbook, Women Studies in Religion, 2021,  Sultana, A., Wilson, J., Martin-Hill, D., Davis Hill, L., & Homer, J. (2022).
  • Assessing the Impact of Water Insecurity on Maternal Mental Health at Six Nations of the Grand River. Frontiers in Water. Duignan, S., Moffat, T., & Martin-Hill, D. (2022).
  • Be like the running water: Assessing gendered and age-based water insecurity experiences with Six Nations First Nation. Social Science & Medicine, 298, 114864. Deen, T. A., Arain, M. A., Champagne, O., Chow-Fraser, P., Nagabhatla, N., & Martin-Hill, D. (2021).
  • Evaluation of observed and projected extreme climate trends for decision making in Six Nations of the Grand River, Canada. Climate Services, 24, 100263. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cliser.2021.100263 

Also, visit Ohneganos. Water is connected to everything!

Dr. Zoe Todd

Dr. Zoe Todd (she/they) (Red River Métis) is a practice-led artist-researcher who studies the relationships between Indigenous sovereignty and freshwater fish futures in Canada. As a Métis anthropologist and researcher-artist, Dr. Todd combines dynamic social science and humanities research and research-creation approaches – including ethnography, archival research, oral testimony, and experimental artistic research practices – within a framework of Indigenous philosophy to elucidate new ways to study and support the complex relationships between Indigenous sovereignty and freshwater fish well-being in Canada today. They are a co-founder of the Institute for Freshwater Fish Futures, which is a collaborative Indigenous-led initiative that is ‘restor(y)ing fish futures, together’ across three continents. They are also a co-founder of the Indigenous Environmental Knowledge Institute (IEKI) at Carleton University. They were a 2018 Yale Presidential Visiting Fellow, and in 2020 they were elected to the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars.


These infographics highlight three thematic areas that our speakers covered during their interviews. Use these to summarize what you’ve learned, share them with others, or save them for when you need a quick refresher!

Theme: Why climate change is important

Theme: Public health action

Theme: Key principles to learn

Take-home messages

The speakers outline important take-home messages here. Prioritizing this 9-minute video may be a good choice for those with limited time.

Resources for Additional Learning

The learning never stops! Use this section to deepen your knowledge of Indigenous organizations leading the way in environmental stewardship and climate change action, and discover resources for related topics (e.g., cultural safety, empowering Indigenous youth).

Indigenous Community & Industry Organizations for Environmental Stewardship & Climate Change


Cultural Safety

Historical Learning

Truth and Reconciliation

Empowering Indigenous Youth