Stories from the front lines

Nancy Turner introduces a new series on Ocean and coastal sustainability.
Published: 14 September 2020

​​​In From “Taking" to “Tending": Learning about Indigenous Land and Resource Management on the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America, Nancy Turner, University of Victoria,​ reflects upon the insights she gained from being out on the lands and waters of the coast of British Columbia, Canada. Her story focuses on those key knowledge holders that were her teachers and guides, as she recounts her personal journey of “learning about the immense richness and complexity of Indigenous Peoples' Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Traditional Land and Resource Management systems" on the coast of British Columbia, Alaska, and Washington.

Dismissing the early European settlers assumption of Indigenous peoples as hunter-gatherers, Turner explains many different examples of traditional land and resource management approaches used in marine and coastal environments on the Northwest Coast including for reef net salmon fishing, herring roe on kelp and hemlock boughs, eelgrass meadows, and clam gardens.

“I have come to see First Peoples as resource tenders and managers over countless generations. Their traditional land and resource management systems provide many lessons on how we humans can work with natural processes to ensure the well-being not only of ourselves, but of the species and habitats on which we rely."

Turner's account is the first in a new series from ICES Journal of Marine Science, “Ocean and coastal sustainability – stories from the front lines".  Drawing from their own experience, authors—natural and social scientists, humanists, and representatives of key stakeholder groups—will tell their stories of ocean and coastal sustainability in a bid to offer insights and lessons, from which the community, and particularly early career scientists, will benefit. 

Barbara Neis, Memorial University​, is handling editor for the exciting new free to read series and will use stories written from diverse perspectives and on a broad range of themes to explore lessons learned. "The stories will give us access to the historical and contemporary fabric of efforts to understand and respond to key ecological, social, and institutional phenomena. They will range from accounts of long histories, as with Nancy Turner’s powerful essay on Indigenous knowledge, to accounts of key singular encounters that changed how the author understood what was happening in their field and have the potential to resonate with others. Think you have a story from the field you would like to tell? Please send us an abstract."

All articles in this series are free to read. Read From “Taking" to “Tending": Learning about Indigenous Land and Resource Management on the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America in ICES Journal of Marine Science now.​

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​Picking red laver seaweed (Pyropia abbottiae) on Campania Island, Gitga’at territory.​​ Photo: Nancy Turner.

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Stories from the front lines

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