There is a growing interest in managing natural resources like forests and waterways using both Indigenous ecological knowledge and Western scientific knowledge. While the intent behind these efforts is often well-meaning, the actual application and integration of these practices does not always take full account of the values and needs of Indigenous peoples.
In this episode, Megan interviews Suzanne Greenlaw, a citizen of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians and a PhD candidate in the School of Forest Resources at the University of Maine. In her research, Suzanne weaves Wabanaki ecological knowledge and Western scientific knowledge to improve access to culturally significant plants, such as basket-quality black ash trees and sweetgrass. Suzanne shares her experience integrating Indigenous knowledge and scientific knowledge into natural resource management and the challenges she has observed throughout her career.
Resources and further reading:
Wabanaki Basketmakers Want to Show That Harvesting Sweetgrass Can Be Sustainable, Jennifer Mitchell, Maine Public, 2018Indigenous stewardship should be central to conservation efforts, international study finds, University of Maine News, 2021Gathering Sweetgrass and Renewing the Past: How Science at Acadia Is Making a Course Correction, Catherine Schmitt, National Park Service, 2021"The Borer and the Basket", video from Community Forests International, 2022
We would like to acknowledge the Government of Canada for supporting this project.
Podcast artwork by Emma Hassencahl-Perley and Erin Goodine.
To support Community Forests International, please visit: forestsinternational.org/donate.