Tuesday, 31 October 2017
Ocean Cultures: Northwest Coast Ecosystems and Indigenous Management Systems
Chapter · June 2017 In book: Conservation for the Anthropocene Ocean: Interdisciplinary Science in Support of Nature and People, Publisher: Academic Press., Editors: P. S. Levin and M. R. Poe, pp.169-199 Darcy Mathews at University of Victoria Darcy Mathews 7.5University of Victoria Nancy J. Turner at University of Victoria Nancy J. Turner 34.38University of Victoria Abstract In this chapter, we examine the diversity of strategies developed over mil- lennia by Northwest Coast First Peoples to maintain and enhance marine and coastal species and habitats. These form a continuum with traditional terres- trial management systems, and tend to reflect the same overarching values and protocols applied and upheld by Indigenous People of the region “since time immemorial." Our work is based on compila- tions and analyses of oral histories and ethnographic accounts from Indigenous environmental experts, along with reviews of published literature, journals and field notes of surveyors, colonial officials and others, as well as surveys and documentation by ourselves and colleagues of the physical, archaeological, and biological evidence of traditional management systems in various sites along the coast. In the following sections we define the features, both tangible and intangible, of traditional land and resource management systems, including the geographical extent and the potential time depth of their development on the Northwest Coast. We consider how these various management practices have been integrated across different ecosystems and over seasonal and broader time scales, and how they have contributed to people’s food security, cultural com- plexity, adaptation, and resilience. In addition to this information, the question of “learning”—both past and present—concerns not just knowledge transmis- sion through time, but also restoring social relationships and developing new collaborations. To illustrate these points, we present three examples of marine resource management systems, with their physical, biological, ecological, and social attributes. Finally, we consider the implications of these traditional man- agement systems for restoring productivity and well-being of coastal ecosys- tems, and for supporting Indigenous peoples’ food security, food sovereignty, and cultural identity.