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“These Trees Have Stories to Tell” Linking Denésƍliné Knowledge and Dendroecology in the Monitoring of Barren-ground Caribou Movements in the Northwest Territories, Canada Open Access


Other title
Denesoline knowledge
Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation
community-based monitoring
Indigenous knowledge
traditional knowledge
barren-ground caribou
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Dokis-Jansen, Kelsey L
Supervisor and department
Parlee, Brenda (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Hik, David (Biological Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Parkins, John (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology
Risk and Community Resilience
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Grounded in an Indigenous methodological framework and using dendroecology as a scientific assessment tool in combination with oral history analysis, this thesis assesses changes to caribou movement patterns in the traditional territory of Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation (LKDFN), Northwest Territories, Canada. This approach was used to explore ways in which scientific methods can be used within an Indigenous research framework. This approach shows that Indigenous ways of knowing can set the basis for identifying the important research questions and methods, and that appropriate and complimentary scientific methods can be used to build upon that framework. I draw from methods of natural and social science disciplines including Participatory Action Research (PAR), ethnography, community-based research, participant observation, and dendroecology (tree-ring analysis). I worked with elders and harvesters to document oral histories about caribou movement patterns and augmented their observations and stories with information from dendroecological assessment techniques. This thesis provides a framework for those seeking to conduct ecological research by drawing linkages between Indigenous knowledge systems and scientific methods. I use the specific example of broadening our understanding of caribou movements by combing oral history narratives and dendroecology, however, the lessons learned could be applied across a wide range of disciplines. This research project is not only about asking questions related to the impacts of resource development to the community of Lutsel K’e and the caribou on which they depend, it also demonstrates that Indigenous communities can embrace and implement scientific methodologies while remaining grounded in our own Indigenous knowledge systems and practices.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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