Collaborative environmental research with Indigenous communities needs more support in the Alberta oil sands region
For generations Indigenous peoples have been observing what happens on their traditional territories and this knowledge, braided (i.e., combined) with Western-based sciences, has offered unique insights into ecological systems and the impacts of human-induced environmental change.
We conducted a review of the scientific literature in the Alberta oil sands to understand the context, methods, and outcomes of research involving braiding Indigenous and Western knowledge systems in preparation for discussion with Indigenous communities and to support future collaborative work.
Read this open access paper on the FACETS website.
We identified six articles that addressed research and monitoring activities in the oil sands region and from these articles we coded: (1) bibliographic information; (2) research themes; and (3) study design; as well as information on (4) knowledge systems and braiding; (5) power relationships, colonization and ethical considerations, and (6) the benefits and challenges of knowledge braiding.
We found that researchers used a broad range of approaches to gather and braid knowledge and also identified multiple challenges (e.g., asymmetries of power, resource availability, and funding limitations) to braiding.
Our review revealed that more support is needed to foster, promote, and share collaborative and interdisciplinary work involving braiding and to support community research needs related to understanding of ecological threats and the assessment of environmental impact across the oil sands region.
Read the paper — Braiding Indigenous knowledge systems and Western-based sciences in the Alberta oil sands region: A systematic review by Alana A. E. Wilcox, Jennifer F. Provencher, Dominique A. Henri, Steven M. Alexander, Jessica J. Taylor, Steven J. Cooke, Philippe J. Thomas, and Lydia R. Johnson.