Presentation Title

Akaitapitsiniksinists Ais’stimattsookinaan Aatsimani, “Our Stories Show Us, Connectedness” – Stakeholder Perspectives of Culturally Important Species of the Blackfoot

Authors' Names

Celina GrayFollow

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Libby Metcalf

Category

Social Sciences/Humanities

Abstract/Artist Statement

The objective of this project is to understand the unique characteristics of cultural keystone species of the Blackfoot Confederacy because the social-ecological dynamics, or human dimensions of wildlife management, affect the ways cultural keystone species are managed within Native American communities and their traditional territories in the U.S.. Cultural keystone species, or CKS, are animals that form the contextual underpinnings of a culture, as reflected in their fundamental roles in diet, used materials or medicine. These species often feature prominently in the language, ceremonies and narratives of native peoples. Additionally, different cultural groups may define certain CKS as critical indicators of a healthy relationship and adaptation to their environment, which is essential to the stability of a culture over time, especially in a changing climate. Understanding CKS encompasses the understanding of species biology, along with the species’ role in indigenous lifeways and current management practices by all, indigenous or not. Through documenting stakeholder perspectives of experiential knowledge and contemporary science, contributions can be made to better-inform effective decision making for wildlife health and conservation as it relates to the needs of indigenous communities like the Blackfoot Confederacy. More broadly, this project will provide both tribal and non-tribal managers an actionable resource to improve tribal-trust natural resource management practices, like acceptance and utilization of traditional ecological knowledge frameworks of wildlife biology, science and management.

Mentor Name

Libby Metcalf

Personal Statement

My work has an important intersection within it. Native peoples have historically been underrepresented in their views and input in wildlife biology and science in general. In order to reclaim our sovereignty over the natural resources that function and abound in our reservation homelands and in our traditional territories, our communities need trained professionals that come from within the community. I was born in Montana and grew up in Washington State; I call the Pacific Northwest home. My scholarly motivation is grounded in my young, growing family; being a mother of 4 young children, it’s important for me to model relational responsibility to natural resources grounded in cultural knowledge, like it was provided to me by my father and others through communal ties. I have a passion for tribal food sovereignty, tribal environmental law, science and policy, and increasing diversity and inclusion in the field of wildlife biology and conservation. Through my passions I serve on various boards and try to make space for other students like me. By presenting at GradCon I can help model how to do reclamation work from an indigenous perspective.

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Mar 4th, 1:30 PM Mar 4th, 1:45 PM

Akaitapitsiniksinists Ais’stimattsookinaan Aatsimani, “Our Stories Show Us, Connectedness” – Stakeholder Perspectives of Culturally Important Species of the Blackfoot

UC 326

The objective of this project is to understand the unique characteristics of cultural keystone species of the Blackfoot Confederacy because the social-ecological dynamics, or human dimensions of wildlife management, affect the ways cultural keystone species are managed within Native American communities and their traditional territories in the U.S.. Cultural keystone species, or CKS, are animals that form the contextual underpinnings of a culture, as reflected in their fundamental roles in diet, used materials or medicine. These species often feature prominently in the language, ceremonies and narratives of native peoples. Additionally, different cultural groups may define certain CKS as critical indicators of a healthy relationship and adaptation to their environment, which is essential to the stability of a culture over time, especially in a changing climate. Understanding CKS encompasses the understanding of species biology, along with the species’ role in indigenous lifeways and current management practices by all, indigenous or not. Through documenting stakeholder perspectives of experiential knowledge and contemporary science, contributions can be made to better-inform effective decision making for wildlife health and conservation as it relates to the needs of indigenous communities like the Blackfoot Confederacy. More broadly, this project will provide both tribal and non-tribal managers an actionable resource to improve tribal-trust natural resource management practices, like acceptance and utilization of traditional ecological knowledge frameworks of wildlife biology, science and management.