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Working Together to Enhance Ecosystem Sustainability: A Sylix / Settler Science Collaboration
Nov 20 2019 - 5:00pm
A Green College Interdisciplinary Series: Indigenous/Science Partnerships - Exploring Histories and Environments.
Jeannette Armstrong, Canada Research Chair in Okanagan Indigenous Knowledge and Philosophy, UBC-O; Lael Parrott, Okanagan Institute for Biodiversity, Resilience, and Ecosystem Services, UBC-O
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and renewed pressures on nation-to-nation treaties (for example, the Columbia River Treaty) have created new opportunities to transform Indigenous-Settler relationships across Canada. UBC Okanagan is demonstrably committed to these goals. UBC has a memorandum of understanding with the Okanagan Nation Alliance and a memorandum of agreement with the En’owkin Centre, both supporting the co-production of ecological knowledge through a respectful partnership between Syilx knowledge holders and western scientists. Still, the pathway towards reconciliation continues; co-production of knowledge is an ongoing process. Drs. Armstrong and Parrott will discuss their shared experiences in leading the development of a collaborative Silyx/UBC research cluster in ecosystem sustainability and resilience. The research cluster is focused on key ecological concerns of Silyx communities, generating evidence, developing capacity to work as partners, and fostering innovative pedagogical initiatives (especially those engaging Syilx youth). Projects within the cluster seek to bridge academic and Indigenous worldviews to co-develop an enhanced understanding of socio-ecological interactions in Okanagan traditional territory. Through this work, a process of collaboration is emerging that may serve as an innovative, international model of respectful research-based collaboration between Indigenous and academic communities.