Opaskwayak Cree Nation Wetland Ethnoecology: Land, Identity and Well-being in a Flooded Landscape

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 12 April, 2012 - 23:00 to 23:20
MORRISON, Alli - Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba

The Saskatchewan River Delta (SRD) is the largest freshwater inland delta in North America, covering over 950 000 ha in central Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The wetlands located in the SRD provide valuable ecosystem services and support significant biodiversity. The Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) has expressed concerns regarding the loss of wildlife within the SRD due to the effects of anthropogenic developments, which have, in combination with other factors, contributed to reduced participation in land-based practices. An ethnoecology of wetlands was documented by accompanying OCN members on the land and reviewing existing documentation from previous community studies regarding indigenous knowledge. Interviews held with OCN members focused on the connections between a life on the land, well-being and cultural identity and how these can be impacted by development. Analysis of the data collected revealed community perspectives regarding the impact that degraded ecosystems can have on well-being.