The need for and value of Indigenous-led conservation is being increasingly recognized by the academic community and public alike. This is apparent across Canada and around the world where policymakers and various actors in dominant society have failed to control human activities driving climate change and habitat loss, while Indigenous lands and waters have been successfully stewarded and managed over millennia. Far from the colonial idea of separating people from nature in order to preserve nature and the concept of the “pristine primitive” or “wilderness” free from human influence, Indigenous approaches to conservation regularly place reciprocal people–place relationships at the center of cultural and stewardship practices. In this seminar, I draw upon our experiences in the place now known as British Columbia (BC), Canada, to showcase examples of Indigenous conservation and science. Emphasis is placed on historical and contemporary conservation leadership by Indigenous peoples, highlighting the history of active suppression of such practices by colonizers, and providing some guidance on how non-Indigenous scholars can be allies to Indigenous leadership in conservation.
About the speaker
Dr. Andrea Reid is an Indigenous fisheries scientist and a member of the Nisga'a Nation. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia's Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, where she uses community-based research and Indigenous research methodologies to study fish and fishing practices of cultural significance for Indigenous nationhood. Dr. Reid's research methods have been instrumental in creating space for fishers, knowledge keepers, youth, and other community members to engage fully in the research process.
Dr. Reid is currently collaborating with the Centre for Indigenous Fisheries, working to build a national and international hub for studying and protecting culturally significant fish and fisheries. The Centre uses interdisciplinary and applied approaches to improve understanding of the complex interrelationships between fish, people and place.
Dr. Reid's PhD in Biology uses both western methods and Indigenous ways of knowing alongside one another using the two-eyed seeing methodology. She is a National Geographic Explorer and a Fellow of The Explorers Club. Her current research focuses on the multiple stressor effects on Pacific salmon. Dr. Reid is also a recipient of the Governor General's Gold Medal (Carleton University, 2020).
Although this conference will be hosted online, most of the participants will be located in Tiohtià:ke (Montreal), on the unceded lands of the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation. If you are not in Tiohtià:ke, you can find out whose land you are on here.