Youth, elders and scientists share different ways of knowing about fish
Take a look at a map of the Tłîchô region and you’ll see a lot of blue. The rolling Canadian Shield country that is characteristic of the area holds countless lakes and rivers. Tåîchô have travelled these routes and fished these waters for generations. The waters and fish that inhabit them are a precious resource –one that Tłîchô communities want to keep watch over to make sure the fish are healthy and the water is clean.
The Wek’èezhìı Renewable Resources Board and the Tłîchô Government are working together to create and test a monitoring system that Tłîchô communities –and others—can use in future to track the health of the fish and waters to see whether there are any changes over time. They are developing sampling approaches using both Tłîchô and scientific knowledge. One lake near one community is studied each summer.
This September, the third year of the Tłîchô Aquatic Ecosystem Monitoring Project ran a fish camp off an island near Wekweètì. In the previous two years they were held in Marian and Russell Lakes near Behchokö. Tłîchô youth ,elders, traditional knowledge researchers and scientists worked together in the field to share knowledge and ways to assess the health of fish and their habitat. At the camp, the elders identify where to set the nets based on their knowledge and experience as fishers in the area and share their observations about the health of the fish sampled. In turn, the biologists show participants scientific fish-monitoring methods. They travelto the site to record traditional knowledge about the lake and changes the elders have seen in their lifetime as well as collect scientific measurements of lake depth, water quality, sediment quality and fish in the lake.
Members of the Tłîchô Community Action Research Team (CART) documented this year’s activities by videotaping activities and interviewing participants. Seven students ages 12 to 14 took part in this year’s camp and when they weren’t learning how to sample, prepare and cook the fish that were caught, they learned about the life cycle of fish and how much air a fish needs in its bladder to swim through hands-on conservation education activities. ... For more information on this project, see Final Report 2010, 2011 (link) http://wrrb.ub4.outcrop.com/sites/default/files/FINAL%20REPORT%20-%20Ihdak%27eti%20Aquatic%20Ecosystem%20Monitoring%20Project%2031%20Mar%202012.pdf ; ..."