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Sillitoe - Chapter 06

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The Ashkui Project:

Linking Western Science and Innu Environmental Knowledge in Creating a Sustainable Environment

Intuitively, it seems impossible to talk of development without the inclusion and consultation of the people whose lives will be affected, aboriginal or not. Furthermore, aboriginal populations have a wealth of knowledge accumulated over centuries of living in their regions that can enhance government efforts to protect the environment. The obligation to protect and include aboriginal communities as part of environmental conservation and sustainable development initiatives is enshrined in several international declarations, including the Rio Declaration and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), as well as Canadian legislation and declarations (Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999). However, the relationship between scientific research and community involvement and capacity building is still a much debated issue. This debate is not just among scientists in regard to the validity of aboriginal peoples' environmental knowledge, but among aboriginal peoples themselves who are asking how scientific research can serve their needs given its long association with colonisation and industrial development projects (Marzano, this volume). The legacy of colonisation, and the subsequent institutions and development projects that have accompanied it, has often served to dislocate aboriginal peoples from their lands and discount their environmental knowledge as inferior (Bieder 1986). As a result, an atmosphere of distrust exists among aboriginal peoples toward social and natural scientists. This paper will examine a collaborative project called the Ashkui Project (a.k.a. the Labrador Project). The Ashkui Project is an example of how scientists and aboriginal communities can work collaboratively to redress this legacy, and build trust, with the ultimate goal of building capacity among all stakeholders around a common vision.

The Ashkui Project:Linking Western Science and Innu Environmental Knowledge in Creating a Sustainable EnvironmentTrudy Sable with Geoff Howell,1 Dave Wilson2 and Peter Penashue Special thanks to Julia SableIntuitively, it seems impossible to talk of
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