Day Two of the NWT Evaluation Symposium will be hosted by Dedats’eetsaa: the Tłı̨chǫ Research & Training Institute of the Tłįchǫ Government. The day’s activities will centre on the example of “De K’ee K’ehot s’edee,” a research inquiry focused on monitoring work with the caribou herds and the development of the Tłı̨chǫ methodologies of “We Watch Everything” and “Boots on the Ground.”
Faced with challenges posed by the decline of the Bathurst caribou herd and a self-imposed ban on caribou hunting in 2015, the Tłįchǫ Government initiated the research project to collect critical field knowledge of the Bathurst caribou herd and its habitat. This program’s approach to caribou monitoring is based on the principle that local people who live on the land and rely on caribou for their daily subsistence are the people in the best position to know the current conditions of caribou and of the land.
The program is based on the traditional knowledge (TK) of harvesters, and while utilizing interdisciplinary research techniques, it relies on the traditional ways of traveling, interacting with, and assessing the conditions of the land. Principal Investigators/Tłı̨chǫ Elders including Joseph Judas of Wekweètì, Michel Louis Rabesca, Moise Rabesca, and Joe Rabesca of Behchokǫ̀, Louie Zoe of Gamètì, as well as John and Merci Koadlik of Contwoyto Lake and staff Dr. John B. Zoe and Petter Jacobsen will provide personal testimonials regarding relationships with the land. They will also discuss their relationship to the project, in the process shedding light on how the project came about, what has been found to date and its impact on our people, and policy implications.
De K’ee K’ehot s’edee is one part of a multi-year, multi-inquiry research project focused on the social and cultural impacts of the loss of caribou harvesting on the lives of Tłı̨chǫ being implemented by Dedats’eetsaa, in collaboration with the Institute for Circumpolar Health Research (ICHR) in Yellowknife. The loss of caribou to the cultural economy of the Tłı̨chǫ raises important questions and promotes conversations to think deeply about Tłı̨chǫ cultural survival, as well as the legislative and policy directions of northern governments, both public and Indigenous. The research is significant not only for the focus on neglected qualitative human areas of concern but because the studies seek new ways of living to balance environmental loss and change.
The perspectives of Tłįchǫ researchers and knowledge holders on Indigenous research methodologies, and the use of research as a tool for Indigenous self-governments to advance their priorities, will have direct relevance for evaluators with an interest in co-creation of research within an Indigenous knowledge framework.
Day 2 will take place at Aurora Village, a 30-minute drive from downtown Yellowknife. Transportation will be provided for conference participants.
***Please note: Symposium participants are advised to wear comfortable footwear and clothing. The day will be spent moving between the dining hall and on-site teepees. The weather in late May can be unpredictable, so registrants are advised to dress in layers and bring rain gear. Please also pack a water bottle. Lunch and nutrition breaks will be provided.