Many environmental research and monitoring programs and projects are underway in the Sahtú Region, and the need for this work is expanding with the emerging shale oil play in the Tulı́t’a District. On November 5-7, 2013, a meeting including representatives of Sahtú organisations, government and industry reached a consensus that such programs and projects should be well coordinated, with strong input from Sahtú communities.
As a consequence, Sahtú organizations and the Government of the Northwest Territories (led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources) have agreed to create a Forum that will support research and monitoring proponents and Sahtú organisations in sharing priorities, plans and proposals, providing feedback and guidance, coordinating objectives and activities. The aim is to more effectively address important issues in the Sahtú.
Vision: Environmental monitoring and research programs and projects in the Sahtú are coordinated and conducted in ways that reflect regional and community priorities, engage communities, value both western science and traditional knowledge, and support wise decision-making.
The Nę K’ǝ Dene Ts’ı̨lı̨ Forum (formerly Sahtú Environmental Research and Monitoring Forum) will support environmental research and monitoring by providing a venue for discussing plans and accommodating the priorities and traditional knowledge of Sahtú communities.
The Forum will address the following objectives in supporting environmental research and monitoring in the Sahtú Region: Identify regional priorities and research gaps; build cross-cultural understanding; support and protect traditional knowledge processes; support regional and regulatory decision-making; identify opportunities for: collaborative research involving communities, communication, information-sharing, and cross-cultural interpretation of research results.
The Forum considers both community and regional research priorities, as well as priorities developed by organisations with responsibilities for guiding research in the Northwest Territories and beyond. The Forum reviewed these priorities at a workshop in January, 2014. More information about regional research priorities can be found in Nę K’ǝ Dene Ts’ı̨lı̨ Forum activity reports as well as Sahtú Research Results Workshop reports.