Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Society: Community Based Ecological Monitoring

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area

Tags: social sciences, traditional knowledge, monitoring

Principal Investigator: Ashthorn, Heather (2)
Licence Number: 16107
Organization: Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Society
Licenced Year(s): 2018 2017 2017 2015 2013 2012 2011 2009 2008 2006
Issued: Jun 08, 2017
Project Team: Community Monitor (Community Monitor, ABEKS), Community Monitor ( Community Monitor, ABEKS), Community Monitor (Community Monitor, ABEKS), Community Monitor (Community Monitor, ABEKS), Community Monitor (Community Monitor, ABEKS), Community Monitor (Community Monitor, ABEKS)

Objective(s): To monitor and assess changes in an area that covers the range of the Porcupine Caribou Herd and nearby coastal and marine areas.

Project Description: The Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Society (ABEKS) uses both local and scientific knowledge to monitor and assess changes in an area that covers the range of the Porcupine Caribou Herd and nearby coastal and marine areas. Interviews with local experts are conducted annually by community researchers. Observations about fish, berries, caribou, unusual animal sightings, weather conditions, and other aspects of the environment are recorded. These observations are presented and discussed at the Annual Gatherings and at community meetings and are accessible on the ABEKS website.

While the entire project also includes communities in Alaska and Yukon, research in the NWT will be conducted in Aklavik, Tuktoyaktuk, Inuvik, Tsiigehtchic, and Fort McPherson. One researcher will assist to conduct interviews in each community. Those communities with both Gwich’in and Inuvialuit people will have two researchers, one for each population. The training session occurs in mid-December or early January, in Inuvik. Each researcher, in conjunction with local organizations and individuals, will develop a list of local experts who may be interested in being interviewed. Approximately 20 interviews will be conducted by each researcher. A set list of questions relating to the local experts observations about fish, berries, caribou, unusual animal sightings, weather conditions, and other aspects of the environment will be used.

Researchers will record the responses on the ABEKS survey form. Occasionally interviewers will provide additional handwritten notes. After the interviews are completed, the researcher will put together a written report as well as a presentation for the Community or Annual Gathering.
The date or location for the Gatherings are not yet set but take place during March.

Community researchers will assist from each community (1 in Tsiigehtchic, 1 in Fort McPherson, 1 in Tuktoyaktuk and 2 each in Inuvik and Aklavik) to interview either Gwich'in or Inuvialuit hunters and trappers. Researchers will receive training and on-going support in interview techniques, report writing, and presentation skills. Researchers will be responsible for conducting approximately 20 interviews with members of their own community. They will prepare a final written report and give a presentation at the Community Gathering. These Gatherings will also be a venue for local representatives to validate and review interim findings. They can either take place in each community or at a central gathering place depending on the year. Approximately 20 hunters and trappers from each community will be sought to give interviews concerning their observations from their experience on the land over the past year. Reimbursement to the interviewees is in the form of a community gas voucher. Each interviewee will receive a copy of their community's report. Final reports will be widely distributed and available from local organizations. Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Society (ABEKS) has also hosted youth gatherings in conjunction with the annual gathering and is looking into involving more youth in its programs, possibly as an in-school indicator monitoring program.

Each person interviewed will receive the report put together by their local researcher. The Community or Annual Gathering, open to all interested individuals and organizations, is an important method by which results are communicated. Observations from each set of interviews will be presented and discussed and each presentation becomes an important component of the Proceedings. Gathering Proceedings will be widely available from local organizations or ABEKS. Posters displaying summaries of various topics covered by the community monitoring interviews will also be displayed at the Gatherings and distributed to interested organizations. The ABEKS website is also an important communication tool and contains past Gathering Proceedings as well as the results from the community monitoring program. Audio visual videos will be placed on the website.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from September 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017.