Sonia Wesche

Sonia Wesche
University of Ottawa · Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics

PhD

About

31
Publications
10,893
Reads
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574
Citations
Citations since 2017
14 Research Items
385 Citations
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Introduction
Dr. Sonia Wesche is Associate Professor in Environmental Studies and Indigenous Studies at the University of Ottawa. She works collaboratively with Indigenous communities in northern Canada. Her research draws on multiple sources of knowledge, and focuses on links among environmental change, traditional land and resource use, food and water security, and health and well-being in Indigenous communities. * https://uniweb.uottawa.ca/members/557 * https://www.ecohlab-labecos.ca *
Additional affiliations
July 2011 - April 2020
University of Ottawa
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
November 2009 - June 2011
National Aboriginal Health Organization
Position
  • Research Officer
Description
  • Research and capacity-building regarding various facets of Metis health, as well as cross-cutting issues linked to First Nations-Metis-Inuit health.
January 2008 - October 2009
University of Northern British Columbia
Position
  • Research Associate/Post-doctoral Fellow

Publications

Publications (31)
Article
Indigenous Peoples living in rural and remote regions of Canada, the United States, and Australia experience the highest food prices in each country. High food prices, low incomes, and limited access to nutritious perishable foods foster increased reliance on poor quality non-perishable foods. In northern Canada, Inuit experience food insecurity at...
Article
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Traditional foods that First Nations peoples harvest or gather from the land remain critically important for achieving and sustaining food security for many communities. In Canada’s North, land claim agreements include provisions for First Nations to participate in the governance of their traditional territories, including the co-management of impo...
Article
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Indigenous Peoples in high-income countries experience higher burdens of food insecurity, obesity, and diet-related health conditions compared to national averages. The objective of this systematic scoping review is to synthesize information from the published literature on the methods/approaches, findings, and scope for research and interventions...
Article
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This paper explores how Canadian federal policy and frameworks can better support community-based initiatives to reduce food insecurity and build sustainable food systems in the North. Through an examination of the current state of food systems infrastructure, transportation, harvest, and production in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nun...
Article
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Northern Indigenous communities require collaborative approaches to health communication about food that are grounded in Indigenous knowledges and cultures; however, preferences and best methods for this process remain understudied. This participatory study discusses how Inuvialuit (Inuit from the Western Arctic) knowledge and the perspectives of t...
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Anthropogenic stressors to freshwater environments have perpetuated water quality and quantity challenges for communities across Arctic Canada, making drinking water resources a primary concern for northern peoples. To understand the ecological trajectory of lakes used as freshwater supply, we conducted a paleolimnological assessment on two supplem...
Article
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Background: Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) is the top dietary source of iron and several micronutrients necessary for red blood cell production (erythropoiesis) in the contemporary diet of Inuit adults across Canada. Many caribou populations across the circumpolar north, however, have experienced dramatic declines in recent decades. Restricted access...
Article
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Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) has been fundamental to the diet and culture of Arctic Indigenous Peoples for thousands of years. Although caribou populations observe natural cycles of abundance and scarcity, several caribou herds across the Circumpolar North have experienced dramatic declines in recent decades due to a range of interrelated factors. B...
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Food insecurity among Indigenous Peoples of northern Canada is a significant public health issue that is exacerbated by changing social and environmental conditions. While a patchwork of programs, strategies and polices exist, the extent to which they address all “pillars” of food security (food availability, access, quality, and utilization) remai...
Article
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Objective To characterize the major components of the contemporary Inuit diet and identify the primary sources of energy and essential nutrients. Design Dietary data were derived from the 24 h recall collected by the Inuit Health Survey (IHS) from 2007 to 2008. The population proportion method was used to determine the percentage contribution of e...
Article
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A Traditional Food Program was developed at East Three Schools (Inuvik, Northwest Territories) in the western Canadian Arctic as part of a research collaboration with school staff and local Indigenous organizations focused on building evidenced-based strategies to promote food security in the region. The program promoted youth engagement with tradi...
Article
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Water is a fundamental component of the ecological integrity, economic development, and sustainability of northern regions, as well as the health and well-being of northerners. However, environmental change has altered fragile thermodynamic relationships of northern ecosystems by shifting seasonal transitions, altering precipitation regimes, reduci...
Article
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Food security in Canada's North is complex, and there is no singular solution. We argue that land-based wild food programs are useful and effective in contributing to long-term food security, health, and well-being for Indigenous communities in the context of changing environmental conditions. Such bottom-up programs support cultural continuity and...
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• To determine community food security concerns in Old Crow, Yukon, Canada and to develop a community consensus on viable adaptation planning to address food security concerns. • Old Crow is a remote, aboriginal community in Arctic Canada that is highly dependent on both traditionally harvested foods and expensive market foods for sustenance, leadi...
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Background: Because of a lack of transportation infrastructure, Old Crow has the highest food costs and greatest reliance on traditional food species for sustenance of any community in Canada's Yukon Territory. Environmental, cultural, and economic change are driving increased perception of food insecurity in Old Crow. Objectives: To address com...
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This paper discusses the application of quali-tative scenarios to understand community vulnerability and adaptation responses, based on a case study in the Slave River Delta region of the Northwest Territories, Canada. Three qualitative, graphic scenarios of possible alternative futures were developed, focusing on two main drivers: climate change a...
Article
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Objectives: This research examines links between Métis identity and health and well-being for Métis women at risk of sexual exploitation in British Columbia, identifies user-defined elements of culturally safe health and social services, and recommends ways to improve health promotion and services. Methods: Twelve semi-structured interviews with Mé...
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A paleolimnological approach was employed to reconstruct variations in the frequency of spring break-up flooding in the Slave River Delta during the past ~80 years based on multi-proxy analyses (geochemistry, diatoms, plant macrofossils) of a sediment core from a shallow, flood-prone lake in the active delta. Results reveal oscillating decadal-scal...
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This paper documents an exceptional research partnership developed between the Vuntut Gwitchin Government (VGG) in Old Crow, Yukon, with a group of scientists to examine northern food security and health as part of a larger, multidisciplinary International Polar Year (IPY) research program. We focus on the elements that enabled a successful communi...
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Here we describe the evolution of a community– researcher partnership that defines the Government of Canada International Polar Year (IPY) investigation on “Environmental change and traditional use of the Old Crow Flats in northern Canada (Yeendoo Nanh Nakhweenjit K’atr’ahanahtyaa; hereafter referred to as YNNK)”—one of very few fully endorsed prog...
Article
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Several literature reviews have highlighted the under-representation of Métis in research regarding Aboriginal Peoples. However, to date, an in-depth examination of trends in Métis research has not been undertaken. This literature review aims to identify trends and gaps in Métis-related health/well-being research over the past three decades (1980-2...
Article
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This study examined critical impacts of climate change on Inuit diet and nutritional health in four Inuit communities in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Western Arctic, Canada. The first objective was to combine data from community observation studies and dietary interview studies to determine potential climate change impacts on nutritional quali...
Chapter
Full-text available
Drawing on several years of collaboration with the community of Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories, this chapter highlights the complex relationship between environmental change and community vulnerability. We draw attention to water as the medium that connects people to their environment and affects local livelihoods and community well-being,...
Article
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While qualitative fieldwork in cross-cultural settings is central to human geography, there has been limited focus in the literature on the expectations and skills required to succeed as a field researcher in this area. Some practical advice is available for researchers who are new to cross-cultural fieldwork (e.g. graduate students, junior faculty...
Chapter
Full-text available
Building the capacity of northern communities to adapt to widespread resource development and climate change is a key governance challenge. In this paper, we provide a multi-scale analysis of adaptive capacity based on fieldwork in Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories, and highlight the governance implications. At the local level, our analysis pl...
Article
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Evolving research in Fort Resolution and the Slave River Delta, Northwest Territories, aims to improve understanding of how the natural ecosystem functions and responds to various environmental stressors, as well as to enhance the stewardship of natural resources and the capacity of local residents to respond to change. We seek to integrate approac...
Poster
Full-text available
Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations: Implications for Diet and Health for Vuntut Gwich’in First Nation, Old Crow, Yukon
Article
Full-text available
In Britain, some climate change models predict a shift in the climatic suitability envelope for beech (Fagus sylvatica) to the north and west, beyond its past-native range, whereas much of the current conservation effort targets beech woodlands in the south and east. Possible implications for the conservation of typical beech woodland plant assembl...

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
The Indigenous Mentorship Network (IMN) is a five-year health training program, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to provide Indigenous scholars and trainees with high quality mentorship, training, and opportunities to engage in Indigenous health research. The Network has been established at 13 research institutions in Ontario. ** Website: http://www.imnp.uwo.ca/ **
Project
As part of the broader TC project, we are working with knowledge-holders in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (NWT) to understand how they track change in freshwater systems, and how to apply this knowledge for improved water governance. ** Media: https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/technology/science/indigenous-knowledge-provides-portrait-of-transformation-on-the-mackenzie-riverbasin/article36528173/ ** Website: http://trackingchange.ca/ **
Project
In partnership with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, we are working with regional and community representatives toward improved policy and decision-making around food security.