Building capacity and documenting traditional knowledge on Species at Risk in the Gwich’in Settlement Area 2012- 2014

Regions: Gwich'in Settlement Area

Tags: caribou, traditional knowledge, ecology, wolverine, grizzly bear, endangered species

Principal Investigator: Benson, Kristi (3)
Licence Number: 15358
Organization: Gwich'in Social & Cultural Institute
Licenced Year(s): 2013 2012
Issued: Nov 01, 2013

Objective(s): To gather Gwich’in traditional knowledge of three species of special concern- wolverine, grizzly bear, and woodland caribou - northern mountain population.

Project Description: The proposed two-year traditional knowledge (TK) study focuses on gathering Gwich’in traditional knowledge of three species of special concern- wolverine, grizzly bear, and woodland caribou - northern mountain population. The TK studies will be led by a Gwich'in Species at Risk (SAR) TK Committee, which will direct the projects and allow information to flow from federal and territorial bodies to communities and individuals about the various SAR processes.

The project also includes a non-research task: Implementation of key educational tasks for northern form Dolly Varden (DV) population recovery in the user communities of the GSA.

The objectives of the three Gwich'in TK studies are to gather focused and relevant Gwich'in TK for use in various SAR processes. The projects will all have the same methods:
a. TK Committee Meeting to review project materials, identify relevant interviewees.
b. Interviews will be conducted in all relevant Gwich'in communities, of about one hour each, discussing topics relevant to species at risk.
c. A focused report will be written.
d. The report will undergo community verification in a small workshop with hunters and elders.

Finally, all reports will be reviewed and approved by the TK Committee. The project will run from summer 2012 to March 2014.

These methods have been used successfully for the preparation of a report Gwich'in Traditional Knowledge of Boreal Woodland Caribou conducted in 2009-2010. The Gwich’in Renewable Resource Board (GRRB) and Gwich’in Social and Cultural Institute (GSCI) have used participatory project methodology similar to the proposed projects for numerous other studies, including a Rat River Dolly Varden Char TK study led by the GRRB. The TK project will be supervised by K. Benson of the Gwich'in Social and Cultural Institute, who has 12 years of experience in heritage assessments including 8 years working with Gwich'in communities. Local coordinator/interviewer(s) will also be hired. Newsletters and education materials will be produced and distributed to the communities, although for the TK studies the Steering Committee will be the main conduit for information flowing to Gwich'in community members.

The GRRB along with the Fisheries Joint Management Committee (FJMC) will conduct school visits in each of the Gwich'in communities to provide interactive fish presentations and teach youth about DV management.

This project is run by the GRRB and uses GRRB, GSCI, and local interviewers, along with a local steering committee.

Results will be communicated through the steering committee, comprised of members from each Gwich'in community. Results will also be included in the GSCI's annual report to the Gwich’in Tribal Council. The reports will be available on the GRRB's website with other species at risk reports.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from November 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013.