Indigenous leadership in caribou conservation and management: Re-thinking the conference experience to facilitate knowledge exchange and mobilization in creative and inclusive ways
2018 – 2019
Funded by: Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada (SSHRC) Connection Grant
Indigenous and scientific knowledge have well established that most caribou populations are experiencing declines across North America. Caribou is an iconic species and holds a special significance for all North Americans – its status concerns us all. Addressing concerns for caribou populations requires an unprecedented level of commitment, collaboration, and cooperation among all groups involved.
The North American Caribou Workshop (NACW) is a forum for knowledge-sharing and learning that brings together Indigenous knowledge holders and representatives of Indigenous organizations, academia, government researchers and decision-makers, and non-profit organizations every two years. The NACW 2018 took place in Ottawa, Canada from October 29 to November 2, 2018. The theme of NACW 2018 was “Working Together”, and had three main goals:
- Translating knowledge into action
- Strengthening livelihoods and futures
- Finding innovative solutions
Our project focused on supporting the Indigenous Stream of the NACW 2018, working to develop approaches to more inclusive cross-cultural conference planning and formats. We led conference organizing activities to facilitate storytelling, a Talking Circle, Indigenous Meeting Spaces for cultural and creative expression, public events, interviews with Indigenous leaders, and youth-centered activities including a Youth Caucus, Guardian training, and a youth panel. The Talking Circle and other conference activities were also an opportunity to develop, and discuss, eight Calls to Action for Indigenous led Caribou Conservation in Canada that are necessary in moving forward with reconciliation and collaborative stewardship.