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Working Together to Take Care of the Land: Building Bridges with Traditional Knowledge in the Gwich’in Settlement Area

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Title: Working Together to Take Care of the Land: Building Bridges with Traditional Knowledge in the Gwich’in Settlement Area
Authors: Smith, Wynet
Keywords: indigenous knowledge
natural resource management
indigenous peoples
citizen participation
wildlife management
show 4 moreNorthwest Territories
First Nations
land use planning
ecosystem management

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Issue Date: 2005
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Citation: Smith W. 2005. Working together to take care of the land: building bridges with traditional knowledge in the Gwich’in settlement area. Ethnobotany Research & Applications 3:57-66.
Abstract: There is great interest in incorporating traditional knowledge into conservation and development planning. It is especially important to try to develop planning and management approaches that actually integrate traditional knowledge and western management systems. In northern Canada, modern comprehensive land claim agreements have been negotiated and signed with the intent of transferring lands, rights, and resource management responsibilities. Many important lessons can be derived from the integrated approach to conservation and resource planning undertaken in the Gwich’in Settlement Area. This paper outlines the key management structures and the systematic processes used to try and incorporate Gwich’in traditional knowledge. Successes and failures are highlighted and key strategies and tools are outlined as well. Key barriers included staff resistance, western-science biases, and community concerns about western-approaches. Key solutions were the use of culturally appropriate planning tools, full involvement of community groups, the setting of integrated, strategic research agendas, the development of traditional knowledge policies, and the development of other concrete mechanisms for incorporating local values and knowledge. It is necessary to have full involvement of the indigenous people in the design, development and implementation of the planning and management processes so that the entire system is more reflective of their knowledge, worldviews, and priorities.
ISSN: 1547-3465
Appears in Collections:2005 - Volume 3 : Ethnobotany Research and Applications

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