Integrating Traditional Knowledge and Western Science
Natural resource managers and native communities have expressed a need for effectively synthesizing traditional knowledge and western science data. Often wildlife management plans are based on remotely sensed data and data collected by wildlife biologists. These data may not reflect the variables that are important to the local users, including the scale of information, names describing places or habitats, or how seasonality affects the wildlife available for harvest. The Inuvialuit of the Yukon North Slope have formed a Wildlife Advisory Council, a co-management body, comprised of federal, territorial, and Inuvialuit representatives, and they are working closely with researchers from the Round River organization to develop a management plan that reflects how the Inuvialuit use Arctic resources and their understanding of seasonal habitat use by fish and wildlife. This process for integrating Traditional and Western science in the Inuvialuit Settlement Area will provide an important example for how other scientists and managers can work with native communities to fulfill the need for wildlife and management plans in other places.