John Ralston Saul, Keynote Speaker

Essayist and Novelist, Author of A Fair Country and The Comeback

"People in place: the worldview we need"

John Ralston Saul touches on themes of Indigenous knowledge, resurgence and the importance of place.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 7:30 pm

 

#UVicEthnoecology

John Ralston Saul, C.C., O.Ont is an award winning essayist and novelist. His fourteen works have been translated into 28 languages in 37 countries. His latest work, The Comeback (Le Grand Retour) is an examinations of the remarkable resurgence to power of Indigenous peoples in Canada. The Comeback has had a great influence on the conversation on Indigenous issues in the country. Saul’s recent writings on immigration and citizenship are increasingly positioning him as one of the leading voices on the subject worldwide. Saul is the former President of PEN International and co-Chair of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship and 6 Degrees Citizen Space.

In his talk, “People in place: the worldview we need,” John Ralston Saul touches on themes of Indigenous knowledge, resurgence and the importance of place. 


Speakers & Panelists (A-Z)

Titles and presentation details in the right-hand column tentatively pertain to chapters of the edited book that will be compiled from the symposium papers.


Arthur Adolph, Xaxli’p First Nation, St’at’imc

Art Adolph, former Chief and Council Member of Xáxli’p, is the youngest son of Chief Victor and Cora Adolph, also grandson of Chief David and Seraphine Adolph and great-grandson of Chief Thomas and Annie Adolph – Chief Thomas Adolph is one of the signatories to the Lillooet Declaration of May 10, 1911, as well as, the Memorial to the Honourable Frank Oliver. Art’s mother passed away before his first birthday.  Elders Chief Sam and Susan Mitchell of Xáxli’p, through custom adoption raised Art, immersing and indoctrinating him in unique authentic Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Indigenous cultural way of life, and the Stl’átl’imx language.  Moreover, Chief Sam and Susan chose not to allow Art to be sent to the Residential School, thus, at an early age provided him an opportunity to accompany them to many meetings including the North American Indian Brotherhood conventions, introducing Art to a movement advocating Native Rights and addressing other social injustice issues. Art has over 30 years experience in political leadership: eight years as Chief and sixteen years as a Council Member for Xáxli’p, including over 19 years of employment in the political field as a Political Advisor/Policy Analyst, Negotiator, Researcher, and Traditional Use Study Project Coordinator, as well as, a Land Use and Occupancy Research Manager; projects with a focus on documenting and protecting Aboriginal Title and Rights.  Art is a Traditional Knowledge holder and holds a BA with a concentration in Sociology and Anthropology as well as training in Aboriginal Studies, First Nations Language Proficiency, Archaeology, Land Claims Negotiations, GIS, and Archival research. He is a strong advocate for First Nations cultures, languages, homelands and social and environmental well-being, and is widely recognized for his leadership in these areas.

Xáxli’p Survival Territory: Colonialism, Industrial Land Use and Eco-Cultural Restoration

 Xáxli’p, one of the eleven St’át’imc communities, whose survival territory extends along the Fraser River north of Lillooet up to the peaks of the adjacent mountain ranges, has for over a century faced challenges of colonialism through industrial development and environmental degradation.  Their lands and resources – including forests, food and medicinal plants – have been impacted by an entire range of development, from railway construction to logging, and in turn, their health and well-being have been seriously compromised.  However, inspired by elders and knowledge holders of the past, additionally working with archaeologists, ethnobotanists, ethnographers, biologists, ecoforesters, linguists and others, they have taken strong measures to document their past and current relationships to their territory.  Using this collaborative research as evidence, they have been actively incorporating Indigenous values relating to land and resource management together with sound scientific procedures to create stronger, healthier, more sustainable communities – communities that value the ecosystems that support them.  Through this positive approach of blending traditional ecological knowledge with scientific knowledge, grounded in kincentric ecology, they intend to protect and maintain the other species that share their territory, and to collaborate with others to reverse the effects of global warming and species’ decline that have been the products of imposed ethnocentric industrial land use. 


Chelsey G. Armstrong

Chelsey Geralda Armstrong.jpg

Chelsey Geralda Armstrong is a PhD candidate in archaeology and ethnobiology at Simon Fraser University. Her research explores how contemporary landscapes have been formed by social-ecological palimpsests through centuries of interactions. Chelsey's research focuses particularly on Tsimshianic forest gardens dotted across the Skeena River landscape. Using archaeological, genetic, paleoecological, and ethnobiological research methods, she is teaming up with Indigenous communities to continue to document forest gardens across the Pacific Northwest. Chelsey serves on the Board of Directors for the Society of Ethnobiology and teaches community-based ethnobotanical workshops in her spare time.

Understanding the Past for the Future: Archaeology, Plants and First Nations Land Use and Rights (with Dana Lepofsky, Darcy Mathews, and Spencer Greening)

Archaeology is ideally situated to blend the past with the present by integrating knowledge and worldviews from diverse academic and non-academic communities. Here, we discuss how archaeologists document long-term human knowledge of and interactions with their plant worlds, and then situate this knowledge and practice within current issues of land use and rights and title. We argue that archaeological inquiries of past land use should encompass the full range of material remains, extending beyond what is typically defined as artifacts or an archaeological site.   Using several case studies from British Columbia, we demonstrate how evidence from the individual archaeological plant remains to legacy ecosystems and landscapes unravel the intricacies of past-human plant interactions. Archaeology can broaden considerably our view of past people-plant interactions at multiple temporal and spatial scales, and when integrated with oral knowledge can be linked to specific cultural identities, which in many cases may be required in legal inquiries. 


Dr. Jeannette Armstrong, Canada Research Chair, Faculty of Indigenous Studies, University of British Columbia, Okanagan

Jeannette Armstrong is Syilx Okanagan, a fluent speaker of nsyilxcn and a traditional knowledge keeper of the Okanagan Nation. She was one of the founders of the En’owkin Centre, the institute of higher learning for the Syilx Okanagan people dedicated to the recovery of Syilx language and protection of Syilx cultural identity. She currently holds the Canada Research Chair in Okanagan Indigenous Knowledge and Philosophy at University of British Columbia Okanagan and directs research at En’owkin Centre. She is a published literary author has published a wide variety of academic articles. She has a Ph.D. in Environmental Ethics and Syilx Indigenous Literatures. In 2015, she was awarded Our Language Heroes Award by the Celebrating Salish Organization of the USA and Canada Salish languages. She was awarded British Columbia’s Community Achievement Award in 2012. She is the recipient of the EcoTrust Buffett Award for Indigenous Leadership. She currently serves by Ministerial appointment on Canada’s Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, (COSEWIC) on their Traditional Knowledge Subcommittee. She currently serves as Board Member on the Swift Family Foundation.

Living from the Land: Food Security and Food Sovereignty, Today and into the Future

My research and dissertation is situated in Syilx land ethics related to land use. The reintroduction of food sovereignty and the revitalization of Syilx harvest practices is a process of assertion and protection of rights. Many families have never abandoned harvesting, however many have.  A strategy of maintaining eating and using the food, not just as ceremonial food, but as essential to the physical, psychological and spiritual lives of our families, especially our youth, in a way that is integrated into all aspects of community development, including language, cultural education, health, economic development and Nation governance.  While this is challenging, the Syilx model of assertion of rights through food sovereignty is flourishing and achieving remarkable outcomes as a result.


Dr. Marlene R. Atleo, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba

Dr. Marlene R. Atleo, is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba. ?eh ?eh naa-tuu-kwiss (Ahousaht First Nation, Nuuchahnulth) identifies as a fisher and academic. She taught Aboriginal Ed. and Cross-Cultural Ed. in the BEd program, and coordinated the Adult and Post-Secondary area in the MEd and PhD. Her first love is doing salmon for home use. For years she worked at Canadian Fish Co. & BC Packers, Rupert Brand. Her research illuminates cultural practices through storywork, such as: Its totally effortless if you use this fish knife - Witcuk-ish uuch’wuƛ  Č’it’aqƛ -Nuu-chah-nulth adaptations for cutting skills, about the development of semi lunar knives for women’s production. Her research and teaching supports Indigenous and underserved students in post secondary settings. Marlene has taught over 300 grad students, served on more than 30 graduate committees; advised more than 50 masters and currently has 7 doctoral students. 

Presentation details to come...


Janelle M. Baker

Janelle Marie Baker is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at McGill University studying Cree perspectives on wild food contamination in Albertas oil sands region in collaboration with Bigstone Cree Nation and Fort McKay First Nation. Baker is an instructor in anthropology at Athabasca University and was recently a visiting PhD scholar on Professor Anna Tsing’s Niels Bohr Professorship project, Aarhus University Research on the Anthropocene: Discovering the Potential of Unintentional Design on Anthropogenic Landscapes. Baker is a past Warren Fellow at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, a Vanier Scholar, the 2013-2014 Canadian Federation for University Women CHEA Fellow, a 2014-2015 International Society of Ethnobiology Darrell Posey Fellow, and a current Canadian Northern Studies Trust Scholarship recipient.

From Traplines to Pipelines: Oil Sands and Pollution of Sacred Lands from northern Alberta to North Dakota (with Linda Black Elk)

We trace the connection of oil sands extraction in Cree, Dené, and Métis territories in northern Alberta to Lakota, Nueta, and Hidatsa territories in the USA via existing and proposed pipelines and associated industrial developments. We will address impacts of industrial pollution on peoples’ lifeways, including the use of water and fishing, the gathering of medicines and healthy foods, and the revitalization of languages and peoplesrelationships to the land. Specifically, we will tell the stories of our ongoing work with Aboriginal communities and their efforts to resist, monitor, and remediate contamination of their sacred lands.


Dr. Brenda Beckwith, Selkirk College & University of Victoria

Brenda Beckwith is an Instructor in the School of Environment and Geomatics, Selkirk College, in Castlegar, BC, and an Adjunct Professor and Instructor in the School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria.  She is an environmental educator, a community-based researcher, and an ethnoecological practitioner. As a Director with the Kootenay Native Plant Society, Brenda has carried on with her interdisciplinary PhD research on the shifting cultural landscapes of northwestern North America, with special attention on the role of the significant biocultural resource camas (Camassia spp.) in indigenous economies. Passionate about plants, people, and place, her environmental consulting company Beckwith Ecologies provides services in ethnobotanical surveys and social-environmental assessment, ecological landscaping, and other forms of interpretive and applied ethnoecological research and outreach. Through her work she aims to cultivate myriad connections among humans, all beings, and the environment, promoting an awareness of the intrinsic values of past lifeways across the reconstructed landscape moving into a re-imagined future.

Presentation details to come...


Linda Black Elk, Catawba Nation, Sitting Bull College

Linda Black Elk (Catawba Nation) is an ethnobotanist specializing in teaching about culturally important plants and their uses as food and medicine. Linda works to protect food sovereignty, traditional plant knowledge, and environmental quality as an extension of the fight against hydraulic fracturing and the fossil fuels industry. She has written for numerous publications, and is the author of “Watoto Unyutapi,” a field guide to edible wild plants of the Dakota people. Linda is the mother to three Lakota boys and is a lecturer at Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, North Dakota.

From Traplines to Pipelines: Oil Sands and Pollution of Sacred Lands from northern Alberta to North Dakota (with Janelle M. Baker)

We trace the connection of oil sands extraction in Cree, Dené, and Métis territories in northern Alberta to Lakota, Nueta, and Hidatsa territories in the USA via existing and proposed pipelines and associated industrial developments. We will address impacts of industrial pollution on peopleslifeways, including the use of water and fishing, the gathering of medicines and healthy foods, and the revitalization of languages and peoplesrelationships to the land. Specifically, we will tell the stories of our ongoing work with Aboriginal communities and their efforts to resist, monitor, and remediate contamination of their sacred lands.


SELILIYE Belinda Claxton, W̱SÁNEĆ (Saanich) First Nation

SELILIYE Belinda Claxton is a member of the W̱SÁNEĆ (Saanich) First Nation. Her name SELILIYE was name given to her by her late mother, Elsie Claxton, of Tsawout. Elsie, as mother and grandmother, taught her family that they are very rich in culture and values and not to forget that. She taught them to appreciate the land, water, sea life, animals and native plants, and, all that the environment offers. She said, “It feed’s us and looks after us when we are ill and hungry.” And, in return, she reminded them, "we look after the land and our surroundings.” SELILIYE's son, Dan and her twin grandsons, Adam and Tristan, practice their traditional medicines, fishing and language rights. Adam and Tristan love picking all the native berries in surrounding their home. SELILIYE enjoys teaching them about the animals, native plants, and birds and their relationship to the land, and especially about the sea life and how important it is to the W̱SÁNEĆ. Today, in 2017, SELILIYE and her brother Louis are assisting linguist Dr. Tim Montler, from Texas, in completing the SENCOTEN Dictionary work they Elders from the past,  including SELILIYE's late mother, Elsie Claxton, worked on for many good years. This project will  help younger W̱SÁNEĆ to speak their SENĆOŦEN language. SELILIYE works with cedar bark, and, along with Stella Underwood, also of Tsawout, will be teaching symposium participants about this beautiful material and its importance.

At the symposium, join SELILIYE and Stella Underwood for a hand’s-on cedar bark rose making workshop.


Dr. Nicholas Claxton, Tsawout

Nick's Indigenous name is XEMŦOLTW̱ and he was born and raised in Saanich (W̱SÁNEĆ) Territory. He is a member of Tsawout, one of the Saanich First Nation bands on Southern Vancouver Island. Nick received his Masters in Indigenous Governance and his doctorate through the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria. He is currently Assistant Teaching Professor in Indigenous Education in the Faculty of Education. His research interests are in revitalizing the traditional fishing and environmental knowledge and traditions of reef net fishing in his community. He draws knowledge from his late Uncle Dr. Earl Claxton (YELЌÁTŦE), his Uncle John Elliott (STOLȻEȽ), and his father Lou Claxton (SELEMTEN), who participated first-hand the Saanich Reef Net technology. He teaches through experiential learning, and likes to be out on the lands and waters of his territory.

Passing It On: Indigenous Approaches to Education and the Renewal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (with Leigh Joseph)

Indigenous Peoples in Canada are entering into a time of renewed strength, pride and practice of traditional life-ways. This time of renewal comes on the backs of generations of Indigenous Peoples who suffered unimaginable losses and trauma. These people also fought to hold onto parts of their culture that they could in turn pass on to future generations. We are in a time, as indigenous peoples, where we are building a renewed sense of connection to the land and all that it offers to sustain us physically, spiritually and emotionally. We can hear the words of our ancestors spoken through Indigenous Education and Indigenous language revitalization efforts in our communities. This language explains our place on this earth in a way no other language can. The foods and medicines we harvest, prepare and utilize heal us on many different levels. All is connected. All is one. In this time of Indigenous Knowledge renewal and healing we are looking to our ancestors for guidance as we move towards healing though connecting to our Traditional Knowledge. In this paper we will explore stories of cultural renewal taking place in Indigenous communities in British Columbia, Canada. These stories will help to illustrate the work that various Indigenous Communities are undertaking through education, to renew cultural knowledge and to highlight the cultural champions in these communities who are helping this important work to happen.


Dr. Jeff Corntassel, Cherokee Nation, University of Victoria

Jeff Corntassel (Cherokee Nation) received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Arizona in 1998, and is currently Associate Professor and Director of Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria. Corntassel's research and teaching interests include sustainable self-determination and Indigenous political mobilization. Jeff’s research has been published in Alternatives, Decolonization, Human Rights Quarterly, and Social Science Journal. Jeff’s first book, entitled Forced Federalism: Contemporary Challenges to Indigenous Nationhood (2008, University of Oklahoma Press), examines how Indigenous nations in the U.S. have mobilized politically as they encounter new threats to their governance from state policymakers. His next book is an edited volume in collaboration with Kanaka Maoli professors in Indigenous Politics at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa, and is entitled Everyday Acts of Resurgence: People, Places, Practices

Restorying Indigenous Landscapes: Community Restoration and Resurgence

What are strategies for reclaiming Indigenous homelands and waterways to sustain future generations? This paper explores some innovative ways that Indigenous peoples in Tsartlip and Songhees (Victoria, British Columbia), as well as Cherokee Nation (Oklahoma), are developing community gardens and community tool sheds at the ‘grassroots’ level to combat invasive species, reinvigorate trade networks, and practice sustainable self-determination. The results of their applied work have important implications for how we conceptualize Indigenous resurgence and food sovereignty within communities. 


Dr. Alain Cuerrier, President of the International Society of Ethnobotany

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Dr. Alain Cuerrier is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Montreal, as well as a Botanist and Researcher at the Montreal Botanical Garden. He received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of Montreal. Alain worked at Harvard University during his PhD which helped him achieve his current positions. Alain is also a writer and poet. He recently contributed to a book on Medicinal Plants thriving in the arctic and he has published a book of poetry in French.

Traditional Medicines from Culture Specific Gathering Sites Improve Indigenous Peoples' Health (with Dr. Letitia McCune)

The United Nations declared the rights of Indigenous Peoples to their cultural heritage and traditional medicines with Canada an official full supporter of this declaration without qualification. Considering Canada spends over $50 million/year on the Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative and health issues such as diabetes increase with the loss of culture, can the argument be made that traditionally used medicinal plants should thus be protected in Canada? As the specific gathering sites of those medicinal plants influence the medicinal properties they contain, can those gathering sites likewise be protected? Habitat specific medicinal properties include the varying antioxidant activity found in plant species used by Indigenous Peoples for symptoms of diabetes and its complications within the boreal forest of Canada. In addition habitats that contains copper soils can have medicinal plants with high levels of antioxidants as well as copper for the benefit of those fighting various disease states.


Dr. Douglas Deur, Associate Research Professor, Portland State University

Dr. Douglas Deur's research interests include cultural and political ecology, ethnobiology, cultural landscapes, contested spaces, applied research, cultural perspectives on natural resource management and restoration, resident communities’ interests in national parks and protected areas, ethnohistory, and Northwestern North America.

Dr. Deur's areas of focus include contested spaces and resources, such as the study of Native American communities’ responses to the effects of contemporary development on places or resources of unique cultural significance. As part of this work he has been providing training for Native American and Native Alaskan communities on how to document places of cultural significance as those communities seek to articulate their concerns regarding the effects of tourism, mining and energy development within their traditional territories.  Read more...

Navigating the Imagined Wilderness: Contested Native American Plant Gathering Traditions in America’s National Parks (with Justine James, Jr.)

The national parks of the United States protect some of the United States' most prominent landmarks and environmentally sensitive lands; they also served as early precedents for parks and other protected lands elsewhere in the world.  In sequestering these places, the United States’ National Park Service (NPS), sought to preserve in a "natural" condition many places and habitats that were, in truth, occupied, used, managed, and even created by Native American communities. Manifesting nationalist agendas, and rooted in Victorian conceptualizations of wildness, national parks curtailed Native access in myriad ways, while creating unprecedented recreational spaces within lands of enduring ethnobotanical significance. Conflicts commonly emerge between traditionally associated Native communities, the NPS, park visitors, and other constituencies over access to anthropogenic plant communities, their management, and their representation. This presentation draws lessons from several national park cases, including plant communities traditionally used and managed by the Quinault and now incorporated into Olympic National Park.


STOLȻEȽ Dr. John Elliott, Saanich (WSÁNEĆ) Nation

STOLȻEȽ is a member of the Saanich (WSÁNEĆ) Nation of southern Vancouver Island. A cultural specialist, language activist, artist, writer and community leader, STOLȻEȽ teaches at LÁU,WELṈEW Tribal School. He is particularly recognized for his leadership role in language revitalization. Through teachings and stories, he connects his sacred language to the lands and waters of his homeland, to the plants and animals, and to his people’s history. His father, the late Dave Elliott, inspired STOLȻEȽ’s own work with the SENĆOŦEN language, having devoted much of his life to recording the words and history of the people in the writing system he developed. John has continued his father’s work, and was one of the originators of the FirstVoices Web-based Aboriginal Language resource (see www.firstvoices.com). 

On Tuesday, May the 2nd, STOLȻEȽ John Elliott will be telling a WSÁNEĆ story called Cedar Man.


Eli Enns, Regional Coordinator North America, ICCA Consortium

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Eli Enns is an internationally recognized expert in bio-cultural heritage conservation. Utilizing both a western university education, and traditional knowledge from his Nuu-chah-nulth Elders, Eli has designed and implemented engagement strategies for projects and programs including a wide spectrum of community needs. Eli has expertise in First Nations program administration, capital project management, green and culturally appropriate housing and the deployment of renewable energy solutions in remote communities, all in the context of fostering alternative pathways to economic certainty through International Dispute Resolution. 

The Origin Story of Canada: Legal Context for Indigenous Peoples' Land Rights & Responsibilities. Overview of the geopolitical development of the nation state "Canada", and the role of Indigenous Peoples in Canadian Constitutional Law. Introduction of Indigenous sovereignty as "a grand mother's responsibility".  

ICCA Tribal Parks, Ethnoecology and Ethnobotany: A Young Tree with Ten Thousand Year Old Roots. An introduction to ICCA Tribal Parks from the perspective of building common ground through the use of, and creation of new language as intermediary concepts for newly arrived cultures to begin to understand the traditional governance values and principles that Indigenous Peoples have been using to govern their territories since time immemorial. 

The Future of Protected Areas in Canada: Forwarding Indigenous led Conservation and Reconciliation to meet and exceed our Aichi Biodiversity Targets. What does the future hold for Indigenous Led Conservation in Canada? and how can Indigenous Peoples in Canada provide leadership in meeting the objectives in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity?


Ann Garibaldi, M.Sc., R.PBio, Integral Ecology Group

Ann Garibaldi, MSc ­is an ethonoecologist and ethnobotanist with more than 15 years of research and consulting experience. She received her B.Sc. in Environmental Plant Biology at Ohio University under the guidance of Dr. Jan Salick, and an interdisciplinary M.Sc. at the University of Victoria with Drs. Nancy Turner and Gerry Allen. She has worked extensively with Indigenous communities in Alberta, British Columbia, and Alaska on social-ecological issues in changing environmental systems.

Ann’s work explores processes to support meaningful and respectful dialogue between Indigenous communities, government, industry and the private sector that enable Indigenous people to exercise their rights. Ann has brought her expertise and training in botany and ethnobotany to bear on issues related to: cumulative effects, development effects on cultural knowledge transmission, Indigenous knowledge and values in reclamation processes; land management practices, and more. Her approach emphasizes community participation in defining project goals and objectives, and she is committed to inclusive relationships with communities with whom she works. Ann has developed and executed multiple training courses on TEK discourse and applications. She has authored the book Medicinal Flora of the Alaska Natives (Garibaldi 1999) and formerly sat on the Ethnobotany Advisory Board with the University of Alaska.


Spencer Greening, Gitga’at Nation

Spencer Greening is the Cultural Research Coordinator and a Councillor for the Gitga’at First Nation. He is also an MA candidate in Anthropology at the University of Northern British Columbia. His research interests are in Indigenous knowledge systems, language, identity, and traditional Gitga’at Law and politics. All of his research revolves around his deep connection to his home community, elders, and territories. The process of decolonization is at the forefront of Spencer’s work, he is actively engaged with this when it comes to government to government relations, policies, and cultural work within the community of Hartley Bay and the greater Tsimshian Nation. Spencer’s personal connection to this work is very important, when he is not engaging with it professionally, he spends as much time as he can hunting, fishing, and speaking his language with Elders. 

Understanding the Past for the Future: Archaeology, Plants and First Nations Land Use and Rights (with Dana Lepofsky, Chelsey G. Armstrong, and Darcy Mathews) 

Archaeology is ideally situated to blend the past with the present by integrating knowledge and worldviews from diverse academic and non-academic communities. Here, we discuss how archaeologists document long-term human knowledge of and interactions with their plant worlds, and then situate this knowledge and practice within current issues of land use and rights and title. We argue that archaeological inquiries of past land use should encompass the full range of material remains, extending beyond what is typically defined as artifacts or an archaeological site.   Using several case studies from British Columbia, we demonstrate how evidence from the individual archaeological plant remains to legacy ecosystems and landscapes unravel the intricacies of past-human plant interactions. Archaeology can broaden considerably our view of past people-plant interactions at multiple temporal and spatial scales, and when integrated with oral knowledge can be linked to specific cultural identities, which in many cases may be required in legal inquiries. 


Dr. Marianne Ignace,  Simon Fraser University, Secwepemc Nation

Marianne Ignace is Professor in the departments of Linguistics and First Nations Studies at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. She is also the Director of SFU’s First Nations Language Centre. She has carried out research in and with First Nations communities for more than 30 years, and her publications include The Curtain Within: Haida Social and Symbolic Discourse (1989), A practical grammar of Ts’msyen Sm’algyax co-authored with Margaret Anderson, a Handbook on Aboriginal Language Program Planning, and various articles and book chapters on Secwepemc and Haida language and culture, comprising such diverse topics as ethnobotany and ethno-ecology, language revitalization, ethnography, oratory and stories, ethnohistory and youth hip-hop culture. As a resident of the Skeetchestn community in the Secwepemc Nation, she has researched and taught Secwepemc ethnobotany for the past twenty years in many communities in the nation. Together with Nancy Turner and Sandra Peacock she is the editor and co-author of Secwepemc People and Plants: Research Paper in Shuswap Ethnobotany (2016) and a forthcoming (2017) book Secwepemc People, Land and Laws: Yeri7 re stsq̓ey̓s-kucw, co-authored with Ron Ignace. She presently directs a SSHRC partnership grant (2013-2020) focused on First Nations language documentation and revitalization.

Ecological and Geographic Knowledge in Secwepemc Oral Traditions (with Chief Dr. Ron Ignace)

In this paper we address the ways in which Secwepemc stsptekwll or oral traditions express details and fine nuances about traditional ecological and geographical knowledge, but most significantly establish connections among places, animals, plants, ancestors and the land itself as sentient beings. We will provide examples of how such relationships are articulated in stsptekwll. In the face of linguistic and cultural loss, the Secwepemc are also experiencing the destruction and decline of environments and habitats that give life to these connections and the principles of perception, thought and experience that support them, and we will address what is at stake here for future generations.  


Chief Dr. Ron Ignace,  Skeetchestn, Secwepemc Nation

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Chief Ronald E. Ignace is a member of the Secwepemc (Shuswap) Nation. He has been the elected Chief of the Skeetchestn Band for more than 26 years since the early 1980s, and also served as Chairman of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council and president of the Secwepemc Cultural Education Society during the 1990s. For many years he was the co-chair of the Aboriginal university partnership between the Secwepemc and Simon Fraser University in Kamloops, B. C., and he continues to teach courses in Secwepemc Language and First Nations Studies through SFU.  He holds B.A. and M.A. Degrees in Sociology from the University of British Columbia, and completed his PhD in Anthropology at Simon Fraser University in 2008 with a dissertation titled Our Oral Histories are Our Iron Posts: Secwepemc Stories and Historical Consciousness. He has published and co-published with Marianne Ignace, several articles and book chapters on Secwepemc history, ethnobotany, language and culture. He is the co-author, with Marianne Ignace, of a forthcoming (2017) book Secwepemc People, Land and Laws: Yeri7 re stsq̓ey̓s-kucw. Ron has more than sixty years of practical experience in Secwepemc traditional food gathering, having learned these skills from his own elders, who shared their stories and teachings in the Secwepemc language with him.

Ecological and Geographic Knowledge in Secwepemc Oral Traditions (with Dr. Marianne Ignace)

In this paper we address the ways in which Secwepemc stsptekwll or oral traditions express details and fine nuances about traditional ecological and geographical knowledge, but most significantly establish connections among places, animals, plants, ancestors and the land itself as sentient beings. We will provide examples of how such relationships are articulated in stsptekwll. In the face of linguistic and cultural loss, the Secwepemc are also experiencing the destruction and decline of environments and habitats that give life to these connections and the principles of perception, thought and experience that support them, and we will address what is at stake here for future generations.  


Justine James, Quinault Indian Nation, Washington

the mouth of the Quinault River

the mouth of the Quinault River

 

Leigh Joseph, Squamish Nation, University of Victoria

I am a member of the Sḵwwú7mesh (Squamish) First Nation. My ancestral name is styawat and I am an ethnobotanist by training. I completed my Masters of Science in ethnobotany under the guidance of Dr. Nancy Turner, Dr. Trevor Lantz and members of my Sḵwwú7mesh community.

My interest in the relationship between food and culture developed at an early age and was nourished by my visits with my late uncle, Chester Thomas, and his wife Eva. My grandmother was from Snuneymuxw, or Nanaimo First Nations, and I visited her brother often on his land along the Nanaimo River when I was a child. My memories of that time include picking fresh fruits and vegetables from his garden and watching him prepare the salmon he caught and smoked on their property. These early experiences developed my awareness of how important the links between food and culture are.

I have worked with a number of different First Nations communities within the field of ethnobotany. Through this work I have focused largely on traditional knowledge renewal and building connections to place and to health through working with traditional plant foods and medicines.

Passing It On: Indigenous Approaches to Education and the Renewal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (with Dr. Nick Claxton)

Indigenous Peoples in Canada are entering into a time of renewed strength, pride and practice of traditional life-ways. This time of renewal comes on the backs of generations of Indigenous Peoples who suffered unimaginable losses and trauma. These people also fought to hold onto parts of their culture that they could in turn pass on to future generations. We are in a time, as Indigenous Peoples, where we are building a renewed sense of connection to the land and all that it offers to sustain us physically, spiritually and emotionally. We can hear the words of our ancestors spoken through Indigenous Education and Indigenous language revitalization efforts in our communities. This language explains our place on this earth in a way no other language can. The foods and medicines we harvest, prepare and utilize heal us on many different levels. All is connected. Everything is one. In this time of Indigenous Knowledge renewal and healing we are looking to our ancestors for guidance as we move towards healing though connecting to our Traditional Knowledge. In this paper we will explore stories of cultural renewal taking place in Indigenous communities in British Columbia, Canada. These stories will help to illustrate the work that various Indigenous Communities are undertaking through education, to renew cultural knowledge and to highlight the cultural champions in these communities who are helping this important work to happen.


Dr. Dana Lepofsky