Indigenous Research and Outreach Partnerships
Most of the REM School’s faculty work with BC First Nations and other Indigenous communities on issues relating to land and resource management. These partnerships seek to mobilize local knowledge and advance community goals in the face of unprecedented global change. By integrating research, training, and outreach, these partnerships provide contexts for optimizing cultural, educational, economic, political and scientific values of objects, places, traditions and ecosystems.
As constructive responses to Indigenous critiques of extractive research and resource management, the partnerships are dedicated to balanced reciprocity in both inputs and benefits. Analytic foci include Indigenous resource management models, community and regional planning, capacity development, experiential learning, applications of historical data to cultural and ecological stewardship policy and practice, and case studies in biophysical conservation and sacred sites protection.
Some highlights of current Indigenous partnership projects include:
• Karen Brady’s MRM research with Dr. David Schaepe (adjunct professor and director, Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre) to refine and implement a resource development referrals program grounded inStó:lōcultural precepts and values relating to land
• The Hakai Network for Coastal Peoples, Ecosystems and Management, led by a group that includes Hakai Professors Ken Lertzman and Anne Salomon
• Tanja Hoffmann’s doctoral research to develop an Indigenous social and environmental impact assessment model based on Katzie First Nation experience with bridge construction in their Fraser Valley homeland
• Mykol Knighton’s work to develop a cultural heritage tourism plan for Tla’amin Nation traditional territory
• Evelyn Pinkerton’s longstanding collaborations with the managers of Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations fisheries and other First Nations’ forests
• John Welch’s participation in a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates field school (2010-2013) at Fort Apache, Arizona, dedicated to the community-based production of an Ndee (Western Apache) cultural and historical atlas
• The Tla’amin Nation–SFU Archaeology and Heritage Project, directed by Dana Lepofsky (Hakai Professor, SFU Archaeology), John Welch, and Siemthlut (Michelle Washington)
The overarching goal of these diverse efforts is to harmonize local community, academic and public policy interests in the respectful use and protection of land, resources, ecosystems and intangible associations that provide people with orientation, identity, and vitality, as well as food and shelter. Training, research and outreach programs are fortified and made integral when community interests become driving forces. By opening program designs, processes and applications to direction by Indigenous people and wisdom, without sacrificing professional standards, REM is crafting innovative ways of researching, teaching and allocating benefits linked to resource and environmental management. Success is embedded in the very process of working together to create knowledge, experience and new colleagues and community leaders. Human, social and organizational capital proliferates in cycles of broadening and deepening reciprocity.