Observing Subtleties: Traditional Knowledge and Optimal Water Management of Lake St. Martin

Traverse, Myrle
Baydack, Richard
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
Lake St. Martin First Nation is an Anishinaabe community situated northwest of the Narrows at Lake St. Martin in central Manitoba. The land around Lake St. Martin and traditional activities have been affected by flooding since the early 1960’s, soon after construction of the Fairford Dam on Lake Manitoba. This research explored the historical water situation at Lake St. Martin; examined the First Nations perspective on water level changes over time; and analysed water resource data for the region. Although analysis did not show with statistical significance that the flood control system and its operation are the cause of the flooding at Lake St. Martin, water level changes were evident. First Nations perspectives on the situation, however, revealed that subtle changes in the environment resulting from the operation of the water control system could be identified by traditional, common sense observation. Despite the lack of statistical significance that was due to the large variation in the data and which is characteristic of these types of large complex water systems, First Nations have known through observation of subtle changes that their environmental landscape has deteriorated as a result of the water structure.
indigenous knowledge, water management, Manitoba, floods, surface water level, dams (hydrology), First Nations, indigenous peoples, environmental degradation, hydrology
Traverse M, Baydack R. 2005. Observing subtleties: traditional knowledge and optimal water management of Lake St. Martin. Ethnobotany Research & Applications 3:51-56.
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