The importance of Indigenous-led research
In the past, researchers would take helicopters to Indigenous communities, extract the information they needed and leave, often exploiting the community in the process. In recent years, there has been a strong movement of Indigenous and co-led research, where Indigenous communities are the driving force behind the studies. This episode explores some Indigenous-led initiatives that are being undertaken in partnership with the Canadian Mountain Network (CMN). Guests Dr Courtney Mason, William Snow and Dr. Aimee Schmidt provide a thought-provoking discussion on Indigenous-led research from three different perspectives.
First, Dr. Courtney Mason, Canada Research Chair in Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Communities at Thompson Rivers University, discusses his CMN project entitled, Indigenous land rights in Canada and New Zealand: Sustainable Protected Areas in Rural and Mountain Environments, studying how parks can be better structured to benefit Indigenous communities. He is exploring how Indigenous tourism, which has garnered exponential interest in recent years, could help bring jobs and resources in a way that benefits local culture by fostering research that is co-designed, co-developed and mutually beneficial.
The second guest, William Snow, is Consultation Manager of the Stoney Nakoda First Nation, where he coordinates industrial and government projects on traditional lands. He has also been involved in many Indigenous-led projects and is one of Dr. Mason’s partners on the above CMN study. He is also currently leading the CMN project, Enhancing the reintroduction of Plains Bison through the inclusion of cultural monitoring and traditional knowledge in Banff National Park.
Finally, Dr. Aimee Schmidt, Executive Director of the T’akhu Â Tlèn Conservancy in Whitehorse, discusses her CMN study entitled, Łingít Kusteeyí (Tlingit Way of Life): Revitalizing Tlingit Law for Land and Wildlife, where 200 traditional Tlingit stories (or laws and values) will be analyzed and distilled into actionable law that can be used for wildlife management in Northern BC and southern Yukon. Dr. Schmidt discusses challenges inherent in the knowledge translation process and Indigenous involvement in the study.
Listen to the podcast to learn more about the pressing need to involve local Indigenous communities to develop holistic solutions to conservation challenges, which we may all benefit from.
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