How we respond to community concerns
CINE receives many requests from Aboriginal communities in Canada, the United States and internationally for research on their food systems and the environment. Here are a few examples of the more frequently asked questions:
- "How do we know if our wildlife is safe to eat?"
- "How can we improve our nutrition?"
- "How much junk food are our children eating, and is it harmful?"
- "What are the contaminant levels in our traditional food?"
- "What is the effect of mining on wildlife on our area?"
- "How can we measure the risks and benefits of eating our traditional food?"
CINE's response strategy is designed to answer questions from communities by providing information and data they can understand and use. The response strategy is composed of two elements: education and research.
We have many requests and limited resources. If we can respond, the research involves a three-step plan of action to answer questions from community leaders about nutrition and the environment.
Step 1. Clearinghouse
This means looking for information already available at CINE. If the needed information is not available at CINE (For example, if the question is "Is our fish contaminated with PCB?", and we have no data for the community), we then consider STEP 2.
Step 2. Short study
A short study may be necessary to provide an answer specific to a particular community. If CINE does not have the resources needed to answer the question, or if the results of the short study are not enough, the third step will be considered.
Step 3. Full research proposal
CINE works with community members to develop a full-scale proposal for a research project to answer the question.
In all cases, CINE staff return to the communities to deliver, explain, and help interpret research results.
Requests for research can be made through a CINE Governing Board Member or directly to cine.macdonald [at] mcgill.ca (CINE).