Kelsey Leonard

Kelsey Leonard

Workshop Facilitator

Kelsey Leonard is a citizen of the Shinnecock Indian Nation of Long Island, New York. She is a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at McMaster University focusing on climate change impacts on Indigenous water justice in Canada. She received her PhD in Political Science from McMaster University where her dissertation examined Indigenous water governance for Great Lakes protection including its climatic, territorial, and security underpinnings. She holds an A.B. in Sociology and Anthropology with honors from Harvard University, MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management from the University of Oxford, and JD from Duquesne University. Her recent scholarship explores Indigenous Water Justice and the defining international legal principle of self-determination under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which was published in the Lewis and Clark Law Review and available for download here: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3013470.

WORKSHOP TITLE : Water Security, Climate Change and Indigenous Health

DESCRIPTION : Climate change threatens water security for Indigenous Nations and communities around the world. Although Indigenous Nations and communities on Turtle Island (North America) are diverse, many share characteristics that can affect their ability to prepare for, respond to, and cope with the impacts of climate change on health. These include: (1) living in rural areas or places most affected by climate change (like communities along the coast), (2) relying on surrounding environment and natural resources for food, cultural practices, and income, (3) coping with higher levels of existing health risks when compared to other groups, (4) living in areas without access to adequate water infrastructure or aging infrastructure often complicated by industry, agricultural, or other types of water contamination, and (5) living in isolated or low income communities with limited access to healthcare services. Climate change is expected to increase health risks associated with water quality problems like contamination and may reduce availability of water, particularly during extreme climate events (i.e. droughts, floods, etc.). This workshop will explore emerging tools for assessing Indigenous community capacity for climate change adaptation with a focus on water security.