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"This change isn't good": Gitga'ata Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Environmental Change

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"This change isn't good": Gitga'ata Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Environmental Change

Lamontagne, Cassandra (2016) "This change isn't good": Gitga'ata Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Environmental Change. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Increasingly, those studying climate change are recognizing the potential of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of Indigenous Peoples for providing insights into sustainable frameworks related to climate change mitigation policy, adaptation planning, and understanding of local-level climate change impacts. TEK has been shown to be highly valuable in identifying long-term trends in climate variables, re-constructing a baseline climate history for a people’s territory, and providing locally-generated hypotheses for the changes taking place and their relation to interacting ecosystem components.

However, it is becoming widely acknowledged that research with Indigenous Peoples must go beyond contributing advances to academic fields and must be jointly developed, performed in a way that is conducive to community values, and result in tangible benefits for the community as well as researchers. Climate change researchers or graduate students might not have the background, tools, or institutional support required to fully participate in collaborative research that is productive and meaningful, but this should be a key goal.

This thesis explores Traditional Ecological Knowledge of climate change through these two lenses in collaboration with members of the Gitga’at Nation of northwestern British Columbia. Gitga’ata people are highly knowledgeable about environmental change in their traditional territory. I document and discuss their observations, and bring these together with climate data to strengthen understanding of local impacts, concluding that Gitga’ata knowledge provides insights into local changes that the biophysical and climate modeling data alone does not capture. I also draw on my experience conducting this research to provide an overview of existing frameworks for meaningful research with Indigenous Peoples, to discuss these frameworks in relation to formal institutional requirements, and to support current recognition that productive research relationships with Indigenous communities are both possible and highly desirable.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Geography, Planning and Environment
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Lamontagne, Cassandra
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M. Sc.
Program:Geography, Urban & Environmental Studies
Date:April 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Matthews, H. Damon and Mulrennan, Monica E.
Keywords:Traditional Ecological Knowledge; Climate Change; Gitga'at First Nation
ID Code:981166
Deposited By: CASSANDRA LAMONTAGNE
Deposited On:17 Jun 2016 14:06
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:52
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