Dunne-za (Beaver people), the ancestors of West Moberly First Nations (WMFN), have successfully navigated climatic and ecosystem changes for the past 15,000 years. But colonial systems have significantly increased the pace and scale of change and WMFN are now confronted with rapid, human-driven climate change that may result in further losses to their Indigenous way of life.

Dancing with the Land is a research partnership between West Moberly First Nations (WMFN), Geography Professor Dr. Jessica Dempsey, and PhD student Audrey Irvine-Broque (pictured left), to advance meaningful and consequential relationship building, knowledge exchange and research planning around climate change impacts and policies. 

In January 2023, the UBC Centre for Climate Justice and WMFN held a workshop that brought together 14 faculty members with WMFN Chief Roland Willson and two members of the WMFN Lands Department in order to begin the process of creating a cooperative climate research agenda (CCRA). The workshop was supported by a Community-University Engagement Support (CUES) grant and a Chapman grant.


The workshop took steps towards addressing key knowledge gaps that have prevented WMFN from factoring climate impacts into decision-making, environmental planning and land management, and in government-to-government consultation processes pertaining to land uses and activities that contribute to, or intensify, the impacts of climate change. The full project report was published in April 2023.

Through ongoing community feedback and revision, the CCRA will inform the establishment of collaborative climate and ecosystem research in WMFN territories.