Aklavik, Northwest Territories
Year(s) Funded: 2018-2019 and 2019-2020
Topic Area: Food Security, Knowledge Sharing / Education
Contact: Deana Lemke, Porcupine Caribou Management Board
Partners: Government of Yukon, Environment Canada
Title: Porcupine Caribou Traditional Knowledge Data Mobilization Project
Action: The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada has recently recommended that barren-ground caribou be listed as “threatened” nationally under Canada’s Species at Risk Act. Many of the threats facing these caribou herds are thought to be linked to changing climate and habitat conditions along with how changing relationships to the land are increasing disturbance and affecting harvest.
Indigenous communities in Canada’s Western Arctic have relied on the Porcupine Caribou herd as a food source and cultural cornerstone for millennia. The PCMB recognizes that most Inuvialuit and First Nation Parties in the region have conducted traditional knowledge projects in the past that either focused on or included information about caribou. This project is respecting this previously shared knowledge and mobilizinsg it to create a better understanding of climate change across the range of the Porcupine Caribou herd.
The PCMB is creating a shared network that will allow for the controlled sharing of this information that respects and protects the sovereignty of the knowledge while making it available to support informed decision-making related to ongoing climate change and management needs. It will help develop adaptive management approaches that maintain community connections to the Porcupine Caribou herd as a means of food security and cultural preservation. As part of the project’s outcome, it will also identify ongoing monitoring needs and communication and education methods for sharing results in a relevant and culturally appropriate manner to facilitate ongoing dialogue surrounding climate change and its effects on the Porcupine Caribou herd.
Results: The PCMB has identified three key areas where traditional knowledge will help support the management decisions, including:
Outputs: A report on the status of each Party’s traditional knowledge data along with a draft digitization plan based on the information gathered was developed in March 2019. This document was reviewed along with a focused proposal to start working with two of the most prepared First Nation governments (Vuntut Gwitchin and the Gwich’in Tribal Council) to begin testing the data-sharing tools and develop the protocols and agreements to support the clear and controlled sharing of traditional knowledge data. An application of the results of these actions will be presented to the Parties in September 2019 and will support ongoing development of trust and confidence in this approach.
This project is ongoing and will have more defined outputs once all Parties are contributing to the shared platform. It is expected this will happen over the next year.