2016 Community-Based Projects

Inuvialuit knowledge and use of Fisheries in the Mackenzie River Delta
Inuvialuit Fisheries Joint Management Committee, Northwest Territories

Kristin Hynes, Fisheries Joint Management Committee

PO Box 2120

Inuvik, NT X0E0T0



Cassandra Elliott, TLK Coordinator

Michelle Gruben, Aklavik Hunters and Trappers Committee

Martha Blake, Inuvik Hunters and Trappers Committee

Trevor Lantz, University of Victoria

Sonia Wesche, University of Ottawa

Iria Heredia Vasquez, University of Ottawa


The Mackenzie River Delta area is an important source of subsistence fisheries for the Inuvialuit, that contributes to the overall sustainability of fishing livelihoods for the communities of Aklavik, Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk. This program aims to document and assess the importance of fisheries in the Mackenzie River Delta area to Inuvialuit from Aklavik and Inuvik through TK interviews, mapping of environmental change with implications towards fish habitat, and engaging Inuvialuit from each community in a fish camp that includes youth, elders and active fishers as a knowledge sharing event. TK interviews will be aimed at collecting information on: 1) the relative importance of different fish species to Inuvialuit livelihoods; 2) observed changes in fish species for health/condition, distribution and harvest levels; and 3) observations of environmental change in the Mackenzie River Delta area. The fish camps for each community will provide learning opportunity for youth (local knowledge and scientific sampling techniques), the opportunity to discuss the broad outcomes and feedback that were obtained through the TK interviews, as well as provide a forum for discussion on future directions and Inuvialuit priorities for research and monitoring (traditional and local knowledge, scientific) in the Mackenzie River Delta. All of the TK collected will documented and maintained at Inuvialuit organizations, and outcomes will contribute to the local co-management of fisheries in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. The knowledge collected through this program will also contribute to the broader Tracking Change project which is focused on gathering knowledge across the Mackenzie River Basin.


Changes affecting Fishing Livelihoods in the Gwich’in Settlement Area
Gwich’in Renewable Resources Board, Northwest Territories

Kris Maier, Gwich’in Renewable Resources Board

P.O. Box 2240

Inuvik, NT X0E0T0



Janet Boxwell, Gwich’in Renewable Resources Board

Alestine Andre, Gwich’in Social and Cultural Institute

Tsatsiye Catholique, Gwich’in Tribal Council

Trevor Lantz, University of Victoria

Chanda Brietzke, University of Victoria


Ongoing environmental and socioeconomic changes in northern Canada are raising concerns about the future of fishing livelihoods in the Gwich’in Settlement Area (1, 3). Community-driven research is required to examine observed changes, assess their impacts, and design monitoring initiatives. The goals of this project are to: 1) record local knowledge of environmental changes and their impacts on food fish in the Gwich’in Settlement Area, 2) introduce fishers to scientific fisheries data collection methodology and record data from their catches and 3) connect Gwich’in youth with experienced fishers and mobilize them into action surrounding ongoing changes in fishing livelihoods. To accomplish this youth will travel with the research team to fish camps in the region and spend the day observing fishing activities and documenting the knowledge and perspectives of fishers using semi-structured interviews and participatory videography and photography. Following the fish camps youth representatives will attend a “youth assembly” where they will share their experiences and suggest research priorities for inclusion with the GRRB research priority process. In the winter of 2017, project researchers from the University of Victoria will work with the youth team to develop a report and presentation summarizing the data collected in the summer of 2016. This initiative will improve our understanding of how fishing practices and community livelihoods are being shaped by regional environmental and socioeconomic changes. This information will also guide the development of research and monitoring initiated in the year two of this project.


Sahtú hé Deocha hé Dene Náowerǝ́ Chets’elǝ – Great Bear Lake and Mackenzie River Dene Knowledge: Research Camps 2016
Sahtú Renewable Resources Board, Northwest Territories

Deb Simmons, Sahtú Renewable Resources Board

P.O. Box 134

Tulita, NT X0E 0K0



Leon Andrew, Sahtú Renewable Resources Board

Michael Neyelle, Sahtú Renewable Resources Board

Edward Reeves, Délın̨ ę Ɂehdzo Got’ın̨ e

Roger Odgaard, Sahtu Monitoring Forum

Jennie Vandermeer, Government of the Northwest Territories

Mandy Bayha, Délın̨ ę Ɂehdzo Got’ın̨ e

*Cheslea Martin, University of Alberta


This project involves on-the-land activities designed by the Sahtú Environmental Research and Monitoring Forum, including the annual Sahtú Cross-Cultural Research Camp on Sahtú (Great Bear Lake) in 2016 and Dǝocha (Mackenzie River) watershed in the summer of 2017, and participation in the cross-regional initiative in travel and knowledge exchange along traditional water routes in the Dǝocha basin. Through hands-on activities, participants will share and interpret traditional knowledge about the changing ecology of water and fishing livelihoods. Tracking Change activities will address five objectives related to water and fishing livelihoods in the Sahtú Region: 1) document narrative and practice-based systems for cross-family, cross- community and cross-generational transfer of traditional knowledge and skills in water safety, subsistence fishing, fish preparation and the sharing economy; 2) document traditional knowledge narratives and spatial information about water and fish ecology 3) strengthen planning processes for traditional knowledge research and monitoring; 4) strengthen community governance and leadership in water stewardship and fish conservation; and 5) foster networking and collaboration in ongoing and new community-driven traditional knowledge research and monitoring initiatives in the region. Invited Sahtú Dene and Metis participants will include youth, local traditional knowledge experts and representatives of five local Ɂehdzo Got’ın̨ ę (Renewable Resource Councils). Past, current and prospective students of Aurora College Environmental Monitoring Programs will also be encouraged to participate to contribute to their practicum hours towards certification and to support them in developing and sustaining relationships with prospective employers from industry, government and academia. Local youth interns will be hired to support camp coordination.


Deh Cho K’ehodi Youth River Trip: Fort Simpson to Willow Lake River
Deh Cho First Nations, Northwest Territories

Dahti Tsetso, Deh Cho First Nations

Box 89

Fort Simpson, NT X0E0N0



Dean Holman, Liidlii Kue First Nation

Alison De Pelham, Deh Cho First Nation

George Low, Deh Cho First Nations – Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management Program

Kristine Wray, University of Alberta


Deh Cho First Nations, through the Dehcho K’ehodi stewardship program is partnering with the Deh Cho Land Use Planning office, Deh Cho Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management project, the University of Alberta, Thomas Simpson High School, the Deh Gah Elementary and Secondary School and its member communities to develop a regional Dene Place Names project. The project entails the development of a web-based, interactive mapping tools that showcases the oral histories of selected place names. Funding support received from “Tracking Change” will be used to support a youth river trip. Students from the two Deh Cho high schools will paddle from Fort Simpson to Willow Lake River. Local elders and community land users will accompany the youth on this trip. The participating youth will plan an integral role in this project by assisting in the collection of the place name oral histories by gathering photos and videos of these places, and by interviewing their elders about their climate observations. It is through the documentation of our Dene place names that Deh Cho First Nations will explore the issue of climate change within the Mackenzie River Basin system. Kristine Wray, PhD student with the University of Alberta, will be assisting in the research design and methodologies of the project to help ensure it meets the objectives identified through the “Tracking Change” program.



Guiding Water Protection Through Traditional Knowledge
Akaitcho Territorial Government, Northwest Territories

Annie Boucher, Akaitcho Territorial Government

General Delivery

Deninu Kue, X0E0M0



Mike Tollis. Akaitcho Territorial Government

Diane Giroux, Akaitcho Territorial Government

Lauren King, Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation

Cochise Paulette, Smith’s Landing First Nation

Rosy Bjornson, Treaty 8 Tribal Corporation


The Akaitcho Territorial Government is seeking support for Traditional Knowledge research and a gathering of elders and youth from the four communities around Great Slave Lake to meet on the lake (Simpson Islands) and discuss the incorporation of Traditional Knowledge into a regional water monitoring program as well as in the overall governance and policy within Akaitcho. The project will bring five Chiefs, 5 technical staff, 2 elders and 2 youth from each of Yellowknives Dene First Nation, Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation, Deninu Kue First Nation and Salt River First Nation, by boat to Simpson Islands for a three day meeting to discuss the following:
(1) Environmental indicators of a healthy/unhealthy/changing aquatic ecosystem,
(2) Observed changes in fish health, population, and other observations, (3) Elders’ involvement in the future monitoring and management of Great Slave Lake from an indigenous perspective, and; (4) How the First Nations together can begin to better incorporate TK into governance structures and policies to better reflect the indigenous ways and teachings of the ancestors. Outcomes of the gathering will serve 2 major functions. The first, is the often called-for, and newly developed, Regional Akaitcho Water Monitoring Program, which through the workshop, will be guided by the use of the knowledge shared on water and fish management. The second
is the overall governance of the First Nations as well as the Regional Government where, for the first time, Elders and youth will have the opportunity to comment on their current governance structures and identify areas for improvement or alteration.


Łutsël K'é Dene First Nation Tracking Change in the Great Slave Basin Project
Łutsël K'é Dene First Nation, Northwest Territories

Sean McGee, Ni Hati’ni Program Manager

Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation

Łutsël K’é , NT X0E 1A0



Lauren King, Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation – Wildlife, Lands and Environment Manager

Joseph Catholique, Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation

Eddie Drybones, Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation

David Delafield, University of Alberta

Brenda Parlee, University of Alberta


The Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation (LKDFN), along with our Akaitcho partner Deninu Kue First Nation (DKFN), will embark on two canoe trips in our Akaitcho territory. These canoe trips provide LKDFN and DKFN Traditional Knowledge (TK) holders and youth opportunities to be out on-the-water; practice and transfer traditional skills and knowledge to youth; implement Denésǫłıné fish and water indicators; TK collection and documentation methods; and develop thresholds to trigger stewardship responses. These canoe trips will be an enriching experiences for all participants, and in particular the youth, and will hopefully instill pride in themselves and their strong and unique culture. The first canoe trip is planned for summer 2016 and the second canoe trip in summer 2017. There will be 10-14 LKDFN and DKFN members participating in the canoe trips. These canoe trips will happen in the Slave Basin, on the east arm of Tu Nedhe (Great Slave Lake).


Prince Alberta Grand Council Canoe Trip
Prince Alberta Grand Council, Saskatchewan

Mel Mercredi, Prince Albert Grand Council

Chief Joseph Custer Rsv #201 2300 9th Ave West

P.O. Box 2350 Prince Albert, SK, S6V 6Z1



Vice Chief Joseph Tsannie, Prince Albert Grand Council

David Delafield, University of Alberta

Joanne Johnson, University of Alberta

Shalene Jobin, University of Alberta

Brenda Parlee, University of Alberta


The Prince Albert Grand Council will canoe with approximately 50 participants. Participants will be from the Athabasca Denésułıné and Woodland Cree communities of Northern Saskatchewan. These participants will include youth, guides, traditional leaders, cooks and staff. The canoe trip will be over a 10-14 day period. The group will canoe through either the Slave River Canoe Route or the Mackenzie River Canoe Route. Through this excursion participants will research aquatic environment, fish species, aquatic species and historical sites. We will work with the University of Alberta to assist us with Tracking Changes in the river system system.


Nacho Nayak Dun First Nation Tracking Change: Traditional Knowledge Camp Proposal
Nacho Nayak Dun First Nation, Yukon

Ray Sabo, Nacho Nayak Dun First Nation

Lands and Resources Department

101 Future Rd. Box 220,

Mayo, YT Y0B1M0



Joella Hogan, Nacho Nayak Dun First Nation

Sharon Peter, Nacho Nayak Dun First Nation

Ellen Bielawski, University of Alberta

Kristine Wray, University of Alberta


The objective of the project is to provide Na-Cho Nyäk Dun (NND) citizens the opportunity to travel by horseback and by foot in traditionally used areas in the Peel Watershed region to learn about the past historical presence of their elders by traveling to old hunting camps, key wildlife areas, and through stories by the campfire shared by our elders at the end of each day. Our elder guide on the trip, whose past experiences in the area, will provide our young citizens the opportunity to experience the cultural significance of these areas by traveling the land and bringing the knowledge back to their community. Participants will be presenting at a community meeting on what they learned, discovered, and come to appreciate about being out on the land. The trip will also include a technical aspect whereby the participants will learn how to take water samples from numerous drainages during their travels. These skills will be taught several days prior to the trip and will be incorporated into the daily activities of the trip. Through this work, they will learn the importance of taking baseline water samples which may introduce each participant into a future career as an Environmental Sampler.


Treaty 8 Tribal Association of British Columbia Eagle Island Fish Camp
Treaty 8 Tribal Association, British Columbia

Diane Abel, Treaty 8 Tribal Association

10233-100 Ave.

Fort St. John, British Columbia V1J1Y8



Art Napoleon, Treaty 8 Tribal Association

Val Napoleon, University of Victoria

Amabel D’Souza, University of Alberta

Brenda Parlee, University of Alberta


By introducing a team of 8 community youth to the basic concepts of research, combined with the knowledge of local elders, this project will document and recreate the traditional pre-European fishing methods, such as netting with the natural fibres, fish weirs and fish traps. A lot of old Dane Zaa fishing methods were abandoned long ago and it is unlikely that there are elders who have direct knowledge of these techniques; thus, background research will be required to identify these methods in addition to field research. A secondary aspect of the project is to identify Cree and Dunneza names and uses of specific fish species. Eagle Island is located downsteam from the Bennett Dam, which is known to have contaminated fish populations. For the final phase of the project, the youth will be testing fish for mercury contamination levels. The project will be professionally recorded using HD video and still photography.


Mikisew Cree First Nation Monitoring Program
Mikisew Cree First Nation, Alberta

Melody Lepine, Mikisew Cree First Nations Government and Industry Relations

Suite A – 8219 Fraser Ave.

Fort McMurray, AB T9H 0A2



George Whiteknife, Mikisew Cree First Nation

Jocelyn Martin, Mikisew Cree First Nation

Bruce McClean, Mikisew Cree First Nation

Jocelyn Martin, Mikisew Cree First Nation

Brenda Parlee, University of Alberta


As our Community-Based Monitoring program is fully engaged in the work identified for Tracking Change, we feel that we could offer a leadership role in furthering this work including demonstrating how knowledge can be documented efficiently, through a database system, and may be useful in decision-making. The database system we are already development will better enable us to integrate the local and traditional knowledge already about the water quality, fish ecology and fishing livelihoods, and better use the data we already have including communication with other communities and regions.

For eight years, the Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN) have been operating a community-based monitoring (CBM) program based out of Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. The purpose of the program is to better understand the negative changes our Elders have observed in our traditional territories. Of greatest importance to our communities is the need to better understand the negative changes to water quality, water quantity and flow in the Peace-Athabasca Delta. Our CBM staff monitor weekly, the quality and quantity of water flowing at 12 sites from May- October and undertake weekly winter monitoring from October to May. Our findings have shown deterioration in water quality as a result of industrial development and have identified serious concerns with water quantity (flow) which constrains our access to traditional areas.


Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta Placenames and Oral Histories of Change in the Peace River Sub-Basin
Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta, Alberta

Kevin Ahkimnachie

Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta

c/o Santa Fe Plaza

18178 – 102 Avenue Edmonton, Alberta T5S 1S7



Dusty Twinn, Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta

Gwen Muskwa – Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta

Brenda Parlee – University of Alberta

Shalene Jobin – University of Alberta


There are many kinds of changes which have happened over the last 100 years in the Mackenzie River Basin. Among the most significant changes that have occurred have been in northern Alberta in the Peace, Athabasca and Slave River areas. This region falls within the Treaty 8 territory. This area is called “Beh Shih Ne” in Dene (South Slavey); the river is called “Deh”, “Tsa gheh” in our languages. Both workshops and a boat trip are required to document the histories about these areas as well as details about observed changes in water, fish ecology and fishing livelihoods. The project will be carried out collaboratively between the Livelihood Committee and the Elders Committee of Treaty 8 First Nations and include elders from Jean D’or Prairie, Chateh and Beaver. The project timeline (2016) includes two elders meetings and follow up semi structured interviews (July-October) and a preliminary boat trip from the North Peace River from Fort Vermillion to Garden River to conduct on-the land interviews and place names work (August-September) We specifically want to 1) document places of social, ecological significance and ‘stories’ of change in the health of the Peace-Athabasca-Slave area including changes in water levels, fish health and fishing livelihoods. 2) By including youth in the boat trip and during the elders’ meetings, we also want to ensure that this knowledge is passed on for future generations.