Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı
Sahtú Renewable Resources Board

Traditional Knowledge

  • 2011-2016 Délı̨nę Language, Music and Place

    Language, Music and Place in Délįnę, Northwest Territories, Canada develops an interdisciplinary approach to language documentation. As the community of Delįnę makes a transition to self-government, there has been increased interest in stories, song, and concepts of place in order to better understand what these reveal about self-government, or, more particularly, what is at the core of being a Dene (person). Governance thus is one focal point of this research. Complementing this, the project involves the development of an indigenous research methodology with respect to language research. More particularly, the research explores variation, change and continuity in language, stories, song, and concepts of place as they relate to governance and land stewardship. The approach involves documentation with three groups of families from distinct traditional land use areas across generations, including archival and new materials, as well as dialogue with relatives from neighbouring communities with distinct dialects in order to understand the role of place of origin in variability.

    Nicole Beaudry is leading development of a book based on her research on Dene songs. Jane Modeste is prioritizing production of books based on transcribed oral texts.

    Team Members

    Funders

    University of Cologne

    Total Budget

    $7, 409

    Research Summary

    pdf Learning about Glottal in Délı̨nę got’ı̨nę Kedǝ and Oromo Language (869 KB) s

  • 2012-2016 Caribou Populations Study

    The main goal of the caribou research project is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the identities and relationships among caribou populations and Dene people in the Sahtú region in order to inform and prioritize management efforts. The project will bring together traditional knowledge and non-invasive population genetics to organize and understand the biological diversity of caribou and to develop an approach to caribou research that balances and accommodates aboriginal and scientific ways of knowing.

     Untitled

    Caribou occupy a central place in the livelihoods and identities of Aboriginal people. Some caribou groups are more closely related to each other than others. Understanding the differences between caribou herds and populations is a question of interest to managers, ecologists, and First Nation hunters. For example, because caribou populations are often identified for management purposes it is important to understand if caribou from one area ever travel to different places and mate with other groups of caribou. In the Sahtú Region, caribou are given different names if they live in the mountains, or the boreal forests, or in the tundra. We are interested in understanding how groups of caribou are related to other groups of caribou in the Sahtú Region.

    In the fall of 2012, the Sahtú Dene and Métis of the Northwest Territories passed a resolution detailing their resolve to conduct respectful caribou research and management. The caribou genetics study has developed collaborations with the Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı and the Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę of Fort Good Hope, Norman Wells, Tulı́t’a, Délı̨nę, and Colville Lake to research and monitor caribou populations. It is critically important to develop a collaborative approach to wildlife management that uses multiple sources of data and knowledge systems to help define the boundaries of different groups of caribou. We hope to increase our understanding of caribou in the Sahtú Region with information from hunters and trappers as well as population genetics.

    Population genetics allows scientists to understand how different groups of caribou are related to each other in much the same way humans are related to their extended families. A strong partnership with the communities of the Sahtú Region is essential to the project because the research is dependent on the voluntary collection of caribou fecal pellet (scat or poop) samples by local community members. We are able to take DNA from the outside mucus layer on caribou scat (poop) that is found frozen on the snow. Each caribou has its own individual DNA that is found in the mucus. Once the scat is brought to the lab, technicians take the mucus off a piece of scat from each individual caribou. By running the mucus through machines, we are able to identify each individual caribou and to see how that caribou is related to other caribou. This would be the same thing we could do with a piece of hair from a person to see if a sibling or parent was related to that person.

    Preliminary results from the samples collected during the winter of 2013 can be found on the project website here: http://nricaribou.cc.umanitoba.ca/sahturesearch/?page_id=437

    Team Members

    Funders 

    Sahtu Renewable Resources Board, Environment and Natural Resources - Northwest Territories, Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program - Northwest Territories, University of Manitoba, Environmental Studies Research Fund, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Polar Continental Shelf Program of Natural Resources Canada 

    2014-2015 Budget

     $184,850

     

  • 2014-2015 Spatial State of Knowledge

    In early 2014, the SRRB started working on a Spatial State of Knowledge Project to find, and catalogue, maps and computerized mapping files of the Sahtú Settlement Region.

    The types of map information that is being sought includes:

    1. Traditional ecological knowledge information;
    2. Wildlife information;
    3. Habitat information.

    Many different maps and computer mapping files from research projects through the years are stored in various places – Government, Universities, offices across the Sahtú Settlement Region, and in other places as well. These maps include information on such topic as forests, caribou migration, moose ranges, and traditional place names. A lot of these maps have already been identified and catalogued, and more will be added to the catalogue during 2014-2015. The next steps will be to have the catalogue, and possibly some of the publicly- available mapping files, available on the SRRB website for community/regional organizations and researchers to use.

    Team Members

    Funders

    Environmental Studies Research Fund, Environmental and Natural Resources (ENR, NWT)

    Total Budget

    $50,000

    Acknowledgements 

    ari logo circular

    Special thanks to the staff at the Aurora Research Institute who provide valuable GIS support.

    http://nwtresearch.com/about-us 

     

  • 2014-2015 Wolverine Traditional Knowledge Study

     This project will gather and present Sahtú Dene and Métis traditional knowledge about the Species At Risk Act (SARA)-listed wolverine (western population, special concern) and its habitat. The project will include interviews and outreach in all five Sahtú communities (Tulita, Délı̨nę, Fort Good Hope, Colville Lake, and Norman Wells). Areas of increased shale oil prospecting south of the Mackenzie River will be of particular importance as habitat fragmentation and habitat alienation are of great concern in these areas. Wolverine threats which may be better understood include biological factors (low rate of increase and low density), harvest and predator control programs (wolf culling), and habitat threats (loss, alienation, fragmentation).

    A draft report will serve as a spring-board for the education/outreach activities with students and Elders working together to spread awareness about wolverine as a species at risk component in Phase 2. Project outcomes will include a TK report on wolverine available for SAR processes, and an increased awareness of both wolverine and about the importance of species at risk processes in the NWT. This project therefore meets the expected result of helping to gather and conserve ATK and strengthening capacity in Aboriginal communities for SARA implementation.

    Team Members

    Funders

     Aboriginal Fund for Species At Risk (AFSAR)

    Total Budget

     $48,129

     Research Licenses

     NWT Scientifc Research License - Aurora Research Institute 

  • 2014-ongoing Cross-Cultural Research Camp

    This project is part of the Wildlife, Habitat and Harvesting program funded by the Environmental Studies Research Fund. The Camp was held on July 12-19, 2014 at Stewart Lake in the Tulı́t'a District, and provided an exciting and rare opportunity for a facilitated on-the-land exchange between Dene/Métis knowledge holders and scientists.

    The Camp provided a forum for participants to learn about each other’s research questions and ways of learning about and monitoring wildlife, habitat, harvesting and water. The focal points of activities at the camp will be the two Environmental Studies Research Fund (ESRF) programs this year – Wildlife, Habitat and Harvesting, and Surface Water and Groundwater research. The emphasis will be on cross-cultural learning and relationship building, as well as collection of data in an area near the shale oil play.

    Stewart Lake is where some Shúhtagot’ı̨nę people of Tulít’a have a camp. It has also been the site of a forestry camp in the past. It has an airstrip, good solid ground and cleared areas for camping. There is good fishing in the lake (particularly trout and whitefish) as well as outflow and inflow streams that could be used for CABIN water monitoring. Tǫdzı (boreal woodland caribou) are known to be present in the area. Over the past several decades there has been oil and gas exploration in the vicinity of Stewart Lake; there are three Significant Discovery licenses nearby; and over the past few years new leases have been awarded in the area for shale oil exploration. Thus, it is an important area for gathering baseline information. Stewart Lake itself is a Conservation Zone under the 2013 Sahtu Land Use Plan, but there is only a 1 km buffer around the lake.

    The three key objectives of the Camp were: 1. Provide an opportunity for learning about traditional knowledge and scientific ways of knowing related to environmental research and monitoring in the shale oil play. 2. Contribute to data collection in an area of the Central Mackenzie Valley near potential hydrocarbon exploration and development. 3. Further understanding of research and monitoring needs in the region.

    Watch the photo-voice video!

    Featuring photos and voices of Sahtú Dene and Métis and scientists who lived, worked, learned and played together for a week in July, this video highlights the great things that are possible when people share knowledge and skills across cultures.

    Workshop Participants

    Environmental monitors-in-training

    • John Tobac – Fort Good Hope
    • Louise Yukon – Norman Wells
    • Charles Oudzi – Colville Lake
    • Joanne Krutko – Tulít’a
    • Peter Silastiak, Jr. – Tulít’a
    • Kristen Yakelaya – Tulít’a

    Elders, harvesters and community members

    • Theresa Etchinelle – Tulít’a
    • David Etchinelle – Tulít’a
    • Michael Etchinelle – Tulít’a
    • Gilbert Turo – Youth, Fort Good Hope
    • Archie Erigaktuk – Youth, Tulít’a

    Sahtú Environmental Research and Monitoring Forum members

    • Michael Neyelle – Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı
    • Jimmy Dillon – Délı̨nę

    Scientists / researchers

    • Krista Chin – Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program (GNWT)
    • Morag McPherson – Fisheries and Oceans
    • Robin Bourke – Golder & Associates
    • Stephanie Behrens – GNWT-ENR Sahtú Region
    • Ken Caine – University of Alberta
    • James Hodson – GNWT-ENR Wildlife
    • Heather Sayine-Crawford – GNWT-ENR Sahtú Region
    • Lisa Smith – GNWT-ENR Forestry
    • Dave Polster – contractor for GNWT-ENR Forestry
    • Samuel Haché – Canadian Wildlife Service (Environment Canada)

    Camp staff

    • Leon Andrew – Dene language specialist, interpreter, co-facilitator
    • Deborah Simmons – co-facilitator
    • Shauna Morgan – co-facilitator
    • William Horassi – camp attendant
    • Valerie Desjarlais – cook
    • Jeanie Bavard – cook

    Funders

    Environmental Studies Research Fund

    Budget

    $50,000

    Research Summary

    pdf At Home on the Land (343 KB)

  • 2014-ongoing Spatial Data Management

     The objective of this work is to identify, purchase, and operationalize (including customization and any required educational and engagement components) a community-controlled database system to archive and link traditional knowledge materials in various formats (GIS, audio, text, photos, video) as basis for using traditional knowledge materials in research and decision-making.

    This project will assess the current data-management needs, and existing and future capacity of appropriate community and regional decision-makers (Renewable Resource Councils and the Sahtú Renewable Resources Board, among others). This includes: engagement with future users of the proposed data management vehicle; identifying possible software choices and configurations; showcasing examples of select software choices with end users, selection and purchase of candidate software; customization and web-enabling; data entry or migration; training and follow-up.

    Team Members

    Funders

     Environmental Studies Research Fund(ESRF)

    Total Budget

     

  • 2014-ongoing Spatial Traditional Knowledge Compilation

    This project is part of the Wildlife, Habitat and Harvesting program funded by the Environmental Studies Research Fund. The objective of this work is to address a gap identified in early work on the Spatial State of Knowledge project: the accessibility of previously recorded harvester knowledge to the community and regional organizations mandated to manage resources in the Sahtú Settlement Region.  This includes key place names, ecological knowledge, and land use projects and datasets which define the harvesting landscape. These projects, the existence of which may or may not be common knowledge among decision-making organizations, include documentation of harvester knowledge, knowledge of changes in habitat (both natural and due to earlier exploration and development activities in the study area), and other socio-ecologic topics. Often, the work has been topical, centering on place names, family biographies, characterizing caribou populations and biodiversity, and describing long term changes in ecology and harvesting practices.

    As traditionally named places in Dene languages are the framework upon which other types of spatially-oriented, ecological, and traditional use information are structured, this project will bring together little known and recently re-discovered place names datasets, along with more recent place names work.  The names will be assessed through working with linguist(s), and verified with knowledgeable Elders and land-users.  Gaps in existing names and required changes will be assessed through engagement. 

    As place names are extremely important as a baseline ecological dataset, and were identified as a gap in early Spatial State of Knowledge work, this project will address this gap and directly increase the available socio-ecological information to regional and community organizations for assessing development.

    Team Members

    Funders

    Environmental Studies Research Fund, Environment and Natural Resources - GNWT

    Total Budget

    $50,000

  • Dene Mapping

    The Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı wants a good idea of what computer-based mapping information exists and how to use it best.  Overall, our goals are:

    Goal 1: to identify all the previously-recorded information on maps.
    We’re asking ourselves: What maps can be found in the RRC offices, that have elders’ and hunters’ information on them?  Are there maps in offices in Yellowknife or elsewhere?  What projects happened recently or long ago, that included recording information on maps?

    Goal 2: to bring this information together
    We’re hoping to bring the maps, or paper or digital copies of them, to the SRRB office.

    Goal 3: to make the information accessible to the communities to see and use.
    We’re planning on creating a web-based map that RRCs can look at, once they enter a password to protect the special information.

    Goal 4: to save the original research maps from decay.
    In some cases, the maps are old and ripped and need to be cared for by a professional who will carefully preserve them for future generations.

    There are two specific projects that are underway now to further these goals.

    The first project, Dene Mapping Project Repatriation and Analysis: Understanding valued places at the intersection of caribou ecology and harvesting, includes work with the maps and computer files from the Dene Mapping Project, undertaken by the Dene Nation across the NWT in the 1970s and 1980s.  There is a trails map from this work which is being updated to modern computer standards, and other hunter/trapper wildlife observations on the maps which have remained hidden for decades will be brought to light and made available.  The old maps will be preserved by a specialist known as a conservator, and scanned for use in decision-making and research.  Once the information is updated and available, the SRRB will be working with the communities in meetings and workshops to understand how and when to use this information properly.

    The second project is much broader in scope: Wildlife, Habitat and Harvesting: Responses to Exploration and Development in the Central Mackenzie Valley (CMV): State of Spatial Knowledge Component.  Overall, this project is focussed on aboriginal harvester responses to oil and gas exploration and development from traditional knowledge and scientific perspectives.  For the spatial state of knowledge component, the project’s goals are to identify and make accessible all the maps – computer and paper – that people have recorded information on and make sure that they remain confidential but useful for communities as appropriate. 

    Through these and other projects, we are weaving together the information provided so generously over the years by many knowledgeable hunters, trappers, and other land-users, and hope that their knowledge and memories will last long into the future through the power of computerized mapping technology!

    Team Members

    Funders

    Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program (NWT CIMP), SRRB Wildlife Fund, Education, Culture and Employment(ECE NWT) 

    Total Budget

    $97,000

  • Harvest Study Completion

    What is the Sahtú Settlement Area Harvest Study?

    The Sahtú Settlement Area Harvest Study was a survey of Sahtú Dene and Métis hunters, trappers, and fishers that took place between 1998 and 2005 in all communities of the Sahtú Settlement Area (SSA). The Study recorded the number and location of wildlife harvested in the SSA.

    Why was the Study done?

    The SAHS was a requirement of the Sahtú Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement (SDMCLCA 1993). The objective of the Study was to estimate the total number of animals, fish, and birds harvested by Sahtú Dene and Métis for a period of five years. Based on the Sahtú Land Claim Terms of Reference (Sahtú Settlement Area Harvest Study, Schedule 1 to Chapter 13, 1993), estimates of harvested wildlife are intended for two main purposes:

    • To provide information on harvesting necessary for the effective management of fish and wildlife in this region by Sahtú Renewable Resources Board and Government, and
    • To determine the Minimum Needs Level of Sahtú Dene and Métis so that their harvesting traditions can be protected.

    How was the Study Done?

    The Study was coordinated by the Sahtú Renewable Resources Board in cooperation with Renewable Resource Councils in Tulı́t’a, Norman Wells, Fort Good Hope, Colville Lake, and Délı̨nę. All Sahtú Dene and Métis harvesters who were at least 16 years old were asked to participate. Adult non-beneficiaries who harvested for Sahtú Dene-Métis families were also included. Harvesters were surveyed by Community Interviewers on a monthly basis between 1998 and 2003, then four times a year for two more years (2004-2005).

    What are the findings?

    Data resulting from the Study have been available for resource management and land use planning in a raw form since 2005. However, a 2012/13 assessment indicated that the Study was incomplete in that final results and analysis had not been calculated. In 2014, resources were found to do an important statistical analysis on the harvest totals, including measures of how reliable the results are. The proportional projection method was used to extend the Study results to the entire population of beneficiaries so that total estimated harvests and Minimum Needs Levels could be calculated. No analysis of locations or mapped data was done, nor was there any analysis of the age class and gender data that resulted from the Study. 

    Harvest Study 2

    Example map of results from the Sahtú Harvest Study. This map shows the locations of moose harvests in the Sahtú Settlement Area as reported to the study between 1998 and 2005. Harvest locations were recorded on 10 by 10 km grids. Here, each grid has been coloured to indicate the numbers of harvests. This map is based on draft numbers, and does not represent the total estimated harvest of Sahtú Dene and Métis. The information on this map is confidential; do not copy or distribute. Contact the Sahtú Renewable Resources Board for conditions of use.

    A draft report of the Study results has been prepared. This report includes a detailed description of the survey and data analysis methods, as well as a series of tables presenting the analyzed data. For each community, there are tables of harvester response rates, recall periods, and total estimated harvests (by month, by year, and as five or seven year means). These results are also presented for the Sahtú Settlement Area as a whole (data combined for all communities). The number of harvesters harvesting each species is also reported for the whole SSA, but not by individual community.

    What’s next?

    A series of workshops are being planned for 2015/16 that will present an opportunity for community members to review the results from the Study and provide feedback on the Study and the data. The workshops will be an important way of adding to the work done by the statisticians, by providing a local context for the information.

     With increasing levels of development in the Sahtú, the past Harvest Study can be seen as having established an important baseline, or ‘best estimate’ of what harvesting levels were like at the time it was conducted. However, because the survey stopped collecting information in 2005, there is a concern that the numbers are now becoming out of date and may not be a good indication of harvesting levels or patterns today. As a result, workshop participants will also be asked to discuss ideas for a future harvest study. The workshops will be a chance for people to talk about what they think worked well in the past harvest study, what didn’t work so well, what kind of information should be collected, and how a future study could be improved. 

    Team Members

    • Janet Winbourne
    • Kristi Benson
    • Joe Hanlon
    • Asma Alavi (Statistics Canada)
    • Calvin Pittet

    Funders

    Resources and Sustainable Development in the Artic (ReSDA), SRRB Wildlife Fund

    Total Budget

    $50,000

  • Sahtú Traditional Knowledge Guidelines Working Group

    Traditional Knowledge Research Guidelines will be developed for the Sahtú Regions that are based on community experiences and perspectives, and industry and communities requests to have guidelines that identify best practices in TK research in the Sahtú Region in place as soon as possible. The guidelines will assist with understanding, and will be prepared in a way that is accessible for communities and at the same time useful for visiting researchers.

    The project objectives are:

    1. To ensure community researchers assist with the content of the TK research guidelines.
    2. To discuss, verify and establish consensus with the Sahtú ERM Forum on the TK research guidelines.

    Team Members

    Funders

    Wildlife Fund - Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı, AANDC(Aboriginal Affairs and Nothern Development Canada)

    Total Budget

    $30,000