His knowledge and my knowledge, Cree and Ojibwe traditional environmental knowledge and sturgeon co-management in Manitoba

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Hannibal-Paci, Christopher James
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Cree and Ojibwe Traditional Environmental Knowledge and Sturgeon Co-Management in Manitoba takes an interdisciplinary approach to synthesis of Indigenous sturgeon knowledge, history, and social and scientific knowledge. To some degree this research has been driven by information needs for a specific purpose: the viability of sturgeon is threatened, domestic harvest information is lacking, and the knowledge of the sturgeon and Aboriginal relationships is incomplete. The methodology bridging these gaps generates new knowledge for sturgeon conservation efforts, a significant contribution; however, the object of the thesis was more concerned with creating a space from which to consider Indigenous knowledge in sturgeon research. The thesis concludes that to better manage the fishery now and in the future requires a greater appreciation of the marginalized knowledge of fishers and an appreciation for the environmental history of the sturgeon problem. What distinguishes this approach from others is a concern for solving a natural resource problem by including history and culture into what has mostly been a scientific discussion. While integrating TEK into co-management may resolve the sturgeon problem in Manitoba, in practice such integration and its outcome remain tentative. Successful sturgeon co-management has yet to be undertaken. There is a struggle over management options for remnant sturgeon populations in Manitoba. Sturgeon populations are so severely impacted they require interim special protection. Meanwhile, federal and provincial governments are recognizing the inherent rights of First Nations to natural resources. Governments are obliged to manage fisheries with First Nations' interests in mind. The argument is made in the thesis for the necessity of sturgeon co-management both as a means of overcoming previous failures and as a way to decolonize the fisheries. The theory and methodologies used in the thesis are applicable to other environmental studies.