Engaging Indigenous Knowledge in Synthesis Studies

“My goal for the long run is to have healthy communities, healthy individuals, healthy Alaska. We deserve that.”      Mike Williams, Akiak (SASAP working group member)

Last week NII collaborated with the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and other partners in the State of Alaska Salmon and People project (SASAP) to review how indigenous knowledge has been engaged in SASAP to date and to develop guidelines for future studies of this type.

The meeting, held in Anchorage, brought together 19 members of SASAP working groups that had the most experience engaging indigenous and traditional ecological knowledge in their multidisciplinary analyses.

Tribal and academic leaders came together to discuss how to best integrate multiple knowledge systems into research endeavors

One of the deficiencies of past large-scale salmon research projects has been a lack of adequate engagement of indigenous and traditional ecological knowledge expertise.

By contrast, SASAP has enjoined local, indigenous and traditional ecological knowledge contemporaneously with academic disciplinary expertise so as to ensure a more complete, continuous and relevant understanding of processes affecting salmon and salmon-dependent communities in Alaska.

Topics discussed included opportunities for and challenges to engaging indigenous knowledge in synthesis science

The workshop discussions provided a timely opportunity to reflect on how indigenous knowledge is engaged in research, policy and public education related to salmon. Outputs from the workshop will include a paper that draws on analyses by SASAP working groups that will help to advance the engagement of indigenous knowledge in synthesis studies and salmon policy and management.