Native Science, Harvesting, Conservation, and Co-Management in Northern California

Date and Time: 
Friday, 13 April, 2012 - 20:40 to 21:00
PFEIFFER, Jeanine - San Jose State University

Native peoples of Northern California have sustainably harvested and conserved coastal and marine resources, including mammals, fish, shellfish, and seaweed, for at least 7500 – 10,000 years. First Nations are at the forefront of stewarding and revitalizing ecological and culture resource systems. Traditional ecological or indigenous knowledge (TEK/IK) was historically, and is currently, the key to developing and maintaining robust resource management and conservation programs. TEK/IK and associated resource utilization and management techniques help deal with uncertainty in disturbance-driven ecosystems, maintain ecological memory (via sophisticated understandings of natural cycles, functions, assemblages, interactions, and limits), and ensure cultural survival. The cultural continuity and resilience of indigenous peoples tied to the ability of traditional stewards to access a wide diversity or resources, not only to maintain essential lifeways, but also to cope with seasonal (or more permanent) shortages. Tribal elders see humans as ecological keystone species, critical to the health and long-term welfare of the resources within Tribal Ancestral Territories. Native peoples must be involved in the management of coastal resources. Tribal communities are uniquely positioned and qualified to [co]manage marine resources and to contribute to related scientific studies. Collaborative stewardship aimed at resilient, coupled human-nature systems involving Native peoples and local and state agencies would serve to conserve, restore, and revitalize both biological and cultural diversity.