The Forests and Oceans for the Future Research Group at UBC
consists of faculty, students, and community members who are
interested in identifying meaningful solutions and policy alternatives
to contemporary resource management problems. Our research group
members are involved in projects that, while focused on north
coast British Columbia, also include research in Alaska, the
Fraser River, New England, Western Europe, and New Zealand.
The following agencies have provided support and
assistance to this project:
Forest Renewal of B.C.
Climate Change and Adaptations program of Natural Resources
Departments of Anthropology and Sociology, UBC
Forest Innovation Investment (BC Government)
Forest Science Program (BC Government)
Social Sciences and Humanities research Council of Canada
Charles R. Menzies,
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Dept. of Anthropology
University of British Columbia
Ernie Bolton, Gitxaała Nation
Merle Bolton, Gitxaała Nation
Caroline Butler, M.A., Ph.D., University of Northern BC
Arianne Loranger-Saindon, M.A., Ph.D. Student in Anthropology, UBC
Morgan Moffitt, M.A. Student in Anthropology, UBC
Lauren Rodman, M.A. Student in RMES, UBC
Namoi Smethurst, M.A. Student in Anthropology, UBC
Robin Anderson, B.A., M.A.
Kimberly Brown, M.A., Ph.D. Research Group Associate
Rachel Donkersloot, M.A., Ph.D. Student in Anthropology, UBC
Sam Lewis, Gitxaała First Nation
Raven McMahon (Gitxaała)
James McDonald, Ph.D, NWCC (Terrace, BC)
Andrew Martindale, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Anthropology,
Patrick Moore, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Anthropology, UBC
Jessica Rogers, B.Sc., M.Sc.
Morgan E. Smith, B.A., M.A.
Cheryl Aman, B.Ed., M.A., Ph.D.
Kenneth Campbell, B.GS., Consultant
Veronica Ignas, B.Sc., B.Ed., M.Ed., Burnaby School District
Paul Orlowski, B.Sc., B.Ed., Ph.D.
Scott McKeen, B.A., M.A., B.Ed, Vancouver School District
Judy Thompson, B.Sc., B.Ed, Northwest Community College
Jennifer Rashleigh, The Ethnographic Film Unit at UBC
The Forests and Oceans for the Future research group originated
in a Forest Renewal of BC funded project of the same name that
aimed to demonstrate, through extensive research into local
ecological knowledge held by Gitxaała people, how local systems
of governance and resource management can be more effectively
integrated with the models and approaches of K’mksiwah
(Euro-Canadian) science. Ongoing projects have developed out
of the original project to include concerns with climate change
and adaptation, poverty and traditional social support systems, and landscape archaeology.
The research is conducted within the lands of the Tsimshian
people and the specific territories of walps of the
Gitxaała Nation. Projects conducted by members of the research
group have three foci:
1) ecological research
2) policy research
3) public education and extension products.
Since time immemorial, Gitxaała people have lived in their territories
along the north coast of what is now called British Columbia.
Gitxaała laws (Ayawwk) and history (Adaawk)
describe in precise detail the relationships of trust, honour
and respect that are appropriate for the well-being and continuance
of the people, and also define the rights of ownership over
land, sea and resources within the territory.
However, since the arrival of the first K’mksiwah
(Europeans) in Gitxaała territory in the late 1780s, new forms
of resource extraction and expropriation have appeared which
ignored, demeaned and displaced the importance of the Ayaawk
and Adaawk in managing the territories of Gitxaała.
The new industries (such as forestry, fishing, mining) have
relied almost completely upon K’mksiwah science
for management and regulation.
During the last two decades, the value of traditional
ecological knowledge (TEK), such as that reflected in the Gitxaała
Adaawk and Ayaawk, has been increasing recognized.
TEK tends to derive from a long history of sustainable resource
use. It is cumulatively developed over many generations of local
commercial and subsistence activities. TEK is dynamic, adapting
and changing over time, and tends to reflect an integrated perspective
on resources. TEK can provide highly detailed and specific information
necessary for the successful management of local ecosystems.
The results of our research group highlight the
importance of local-level ecological knowledge in resource management.
Furthermore, our results suggest that rather than macro-level
planning authorities, resource management should be devolved
to local level walps (and their equivalent in other
First Nations territories) in conjunction with non-aboriginal
people living within the territories. Involvement by individuals,
agencies or corporations based outside the region should have
a restricted role and limited access to resources and decision-making
authority in the local arena.