Opaskwayak Cree Nation wetland ethnoecology: land, identity and well-being in a flooded landscape
Morrison, Alli Nicole
The Saskatchewan River Delta (SRD) is the largest freshwater inland delta in North America, covering over 950 000 hectares in central Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The wetlands in the SRD provide valuable ecosystem services and support considerable biodiversity. The Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) has expressed concerns regarding the loss of wildlife in the SRD, among other ecological concerns, due to anthropogenic development. Using an ethnoecological approach, the indigenous knowledge of the OCN was documented through an analysis of wetland-based practices. A variety of methods were employed in the research including participant observation, interviews, document review and verification workshops. Interviews held with community Elders also focused on the connections between a life on the land, well-being and cultural identity. The research revealed the need for a more holistic approach to management of the sensitive wetland ecosystems located with OCN traditional territory that reflects the changing values of the community.