March 06, 2007

Mar. 6, 2007: IPY & UArctic & Studies

University of the Arctic or UArctic

The CBC article on the environment

The United Nations International Polar Year [] kicked off this week, and Canada [] leads the effort with 2,000 scientists supported by $150-million from the federal government, more than any participating nation. Finally, the Cryosphere [ - The National Snow and Ice Data Center] , the realm of ice on the planet, is getting the attention it deserves. [....]

Results from the recent Arctic Climate Impact Study [] show that the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free during the summer, all the way to the pole, in less than 50 years. [That is disputed by many scientists.]

That led to: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment -- Overview Report in four languages ... Saami, Norwebian, Russian ... --

Remember then Governor General Adrienne Clarkson's Circumpolar Tour, a member of which was the Inuit activist and "environmental expert" Sheila Watt-Cloutier, along with approximately 55 others favoured by Her Excellency or the Liberal government of the day (Sept. 2003?). What was the purpose? It seems to have had more import and impact, perhaps, than simply flying around the Polar regions on an official visit. Why the polar regions? Read further and come to your own conclusions. What was that land claim that Andy Scott settled outside of Parliament and did it have anything to do with the optimism toward the bottom of this post?

An international project of the Arctic Council [] and the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), to evaluate and synthesize knowledge on climate variability, climate change, and increased ultraviolet radiation and their consequences. The results of the assessment were released at the ACIA International Scientific Symposium held in Reykjavik, Iceland in November 2004.

The Arctic Council is a high-level intergovernmental forum. The members are Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden, and the United States of America. IASC is a non-governmental organization that facilitates cooperation in all aspects of arctic research in all countries engaged in arctic research and in all areas of the arctic region.

[....] Permanent Participants [....]

* Aleut International Association
* Arctic Athabaskan Council
* Gwich'in Council International
* Inuit Circumpolar Conference
* Saami Council [Consider the possible implications; then check below.]
* Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North

The address given:

Indigenous Peoples Secretariat
P.O. Box 2151, Strandgade 91, 4th floor
DK - 1016 Copenhagen

Further research elicited: cyberus, acuns [no longer of use - defunct? Or behind a firewall?]

Member of the Circumpolar Universities Association -- a trans-national network

Course Announcements

[IASSA = International Arctic Social Sciences Association]

UArctic or University of the Arctic: Bachelor of Circumpolar Studies 322 1 -- or here

Key Terms and Concepts

• indigenous intellectual property rights

• indigenous self-determination

• participatory research

• codes of conduct/codes of ethics for research

• informed consent [....]

It might be of interest to see what this includes and where it is leading. For that, check some of the funding awards and some samples of the research. Note oral history, language, personal experiences, qualitative research, constructivist approach, how the Saami influence our own natives, along with a treaty which changes ... something or other, compared to other treaties. There is UN involvement, as well.

Indigenous Intellectual Property Rights [This may be related to the UN Protocol on Protecting Cultural Diversity - See FHTR the week of Jan. 29, 2006]

According to standard-setting documents formulated by indigenous peoples, “indigenous cultural and intellectual property rights [refer] to such things as indigenous art, songs, poetry, literature, biological and medical knowledge, ecological knowledge and environmental management practices, and other aspects and expressions of indigenous cultural heritage” (Simpson 1997, 18). Indigenous peoples’ use of intellectual property law is linked to the fact that states have been put under pressure to protect intellectual property, within a Western, legalistic tradition. However, the terminology and concepts of such legislation are quite alien to indigenous ways of thought. “Property” is not a universally recognized concept, especially not under its aspect of individual rights that can be alienated and sold. Likewise, the distinction between “cultural” and “intellectual” is reductionist and not necessarily relevant outside the legal context. The whole issue is framed in concepts originating in Western property law and legal systems. Dr. Erica-Irene Daes, who has long been chairperson of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations (WGIP) (which convenes every summer in Geneva), has suggested that “indigenous heritage” would be a more “simple and appropriate” expression than “indigenous cultural and intellectual property rights” (cited in Simpson 1997, 20).

The work of ethnographers .... has been done without seeking the consent .... In the last decades of the twentieth century, some aspects of indigenous knowledge have also emerged as commodities of increasing economic value to non-indigenous peoples. In this context, indigenous peoples of the circumpolar North have voiced their concerns about the unauthorized appropriation of their heritage by outsiders and the commodification of this heritage without their control. [....]

Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies, ACUNS [] However, the website(s) mentioned for Canada is defunct but there is another possibility via Thompson River University

Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) ... -- or Thompson Rivers University - TRU - formerly University of the Cariboo or Cariboo University

Handbook of Opportunities pdf

Some samples of studies subsumed under "science":

Science Award Recipients 2005-2006

Title: Bringing History Home: Digital Media and the Repatriation of Cultural Knowledge in Northern Athabaskan Communities

The issue of repatriation is usually connected to the return of cultural artifacts and human remains by museums to source communities. However, through ethnographic fieldwork and multimedia projects .... examine the role of digital archives and multimedia as tools for the repatriation of language materials and cultural documentation, such as photographs, film, and audio and video recordings. My research will compare the ways in which four Athabaskan communities ... are making use of digital media. Using methods of participatory ethnography while facilitating community media projects as a videographer, trainer, and multimedia producer, I will document the ways that new technologies (visual documentation and multimedia) are used to represent aspects of native culture and language by different agents such as community members, academics, and government institutions.

These communities differ significantly in their historical experiences with residential schools and with land claims. They offer a unique opportunity to study how current approaches to the use of technology are influenced by earlier attitudes towards literacy and increasing political awareness derived from land claims. At the community level, my research will make a significant contribution to the creation of multimedia resources that are focused on the needs and knowledge systems of northern indigenous people, minimalizing the orientation towards urban Euro-Canadian practices in developing new media for First Nations communities. On a more general level, my research will examine the potential for digital archives and multimedia to aid in the reconstitution of wider socio-economic, political and authority practices and evaluate the impact of such new technology on the socially contended roles of northern native and non-native Canadians. [....]

Title: The Perspectives of Inuit Women on Their Health and Well-being in a Nunavut Community: A Qualitative Study

[....] The study will utilize participatory action qualitative health research methods to interview community members in Iqaluit, Nunavut. ... opportunity to participate directly in the study by sharing their knowledge and providing their perspectives on the research question. ....

... important to both acknowledge the skills and support systems .... Key Inuit organizations in Nunavut, such as the Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Council and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association have been consulted during the proposal process and given an opportunity to provide feedback on the topic and nature of the research study. [....]

Title: Gathering Stories for Community-Based Environmental Contaminants Research: A Partnership of the Moose Cree First Nation and Environmental Toxicologists

Through interviews with MCFN members, stories will be gathered for examination from both an indigenous cultural perspective and a toxicological (western science) perspective. The people of the MCFN are interested in exploring how their knowledge can be complemented with western science to identify environmental factors that may be contributing to a decline in the health of their people. ....

Our research team consists of the MCFN community, an environmental toxicologist, an environmental fate expert ....

Title: Prevalence of Gonococcal and Chlamydial Infections in an Inuit Community, Identifying Gender Differences in: Social Networks, Risk Perception and Health Services Utilization

Title: Ice, Through Inuit Eyes: Contributions of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit to sea ice and climate science in the Canadian Arctic

.... gain a better understanding of the importance of sea ice to Inuit culture and identity; ....

Title: Historical, biophysical and cultural basis of revegetation in Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik, subarctic Québec.

The vegetation cover at Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik was destroyed by the building of a military base in 1955. Since then, it has never succeeded in regenerating itself completely and shows generalized degradation. The incapacity of the vegetation cover to return to its original state is explained in part by the rigour of the subarctic climate, and the demographic pressure combined with the anarchical use of all-terrain vehicles. ....

-to study the inhabitants’ perception of the vegetation cover, of its degradation and of its restoration ....

Speech Language Pathology
Title: Using Maximum Length Sequences in Auditory Brainstem Response to Assess Auditory Processing Disorder

Of interest also was the direction in which the studies appeared to be moving; there appears to be much social science, as opposed to "hard" science.

2006-07 Awards

Title: Adapting to Environmental Change in the North: Linking Traditional Knowledge, Social Capital, and Adaptive Capacity in the Slave River Delta

.... My research project has evolved through collaboration with the local Dene Band after members expressed interest in implementing a people-focused project to parallel ongoing paleohydrological research. Through an examination of the relationship between change and human responses, I am focusing specifically on the contributions of traditional knowledge and social capital. The objectives of this study are to: a) develop a framework of trends and indicators of environmental change, impacts and adaptations based on traditional knowledge, ....


Title: Indigenous Higher Education in Canada’s Western Arctic: An Inuvialuit Perspective.

As a result of my thirty-five years residency at Inuvik, NWT,.... transformation among the Inuvialuit people living within the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.

This proposed research is qualitative, with constructivist assumptions, utilizing a critical auto-ethnographic theory of inquiry. My methods will comprise use of open-ended questions in select interviews with elders combined with utilization of my field observations. My primary sources will be Inuvialuit (Inuit) and Gwich’in (Dene) oral histories (current and past), documentary sources from diaries, archives and personal collections, and print sources (indigenous and non-indigenous government publications). Secondary sources ....

The second time frame, 1973-78 .... their [sic] emerged a mainstream type of public adult education that consisted of programs of individual vocational skill development and English language literacy. From the Inuvialuit perspective, these adult education initiatives were no longer community/ family generated from within by Inuvialuit chiefs/ leaders but imposed by outside educational agents (Government of Canada; Government of the Northwest Territories).


Title: Envisioning Alternative Education for Northern Indigenous Students
My doctoral research will focus on Alternative Education for Northern Aboriginal Students, with the main focus on high school students. ....

1. Why is the current education system unsuccessful for a large number of students?
2. What would constitute a more successful education system?

I will be using a qualitative approach because of its flexible nature, the possibility for rich data collection and the ability to follow wherever data lead. The research process will be based in constructivist grounded theory, with focus groups and interviews as main modes of data collection. [....]

Land Claims and Nunatsiavut
Title: The Nunatsiavut land claim agreement: towards a culturally sustainable future for the Inuit of Labrador

.... Not only has the newly ratified Nunatsiavut land claim agreement changed the geopolitical landscape of Canada as a whole, but it provides the foundations through which the Labrador Inuit can finally recognize their claims to self-government and territorial sovereignty. .... This project will look at the principles and stipulations that make up the treaty’s body, and show how its foundations provide for the cultural security of the Inuit people. More specifically, I want to show the evolution of modern Inuit treaties in Canada by emphasizing on how Nunatsiavut differs from earlier treaties (like Nunavut)....

Finally, the paper will focus on how the treaty attempts to realize Inuit concerns for cultural protection, with language retention and cultural education being paid close attention to. ....

Impact of the Saami

Nunavut Teacher Education Program, Nunavut Arctic College
Title: How to prepare caribou skins for different purposes.

A century has passed and a new beginning has started, today the Inuit people are reclaiming their traditional way of preparing and sewing hunting clothing though programs that are geared towards teaching those who are interested on how to prepare and sew caribou skins and other skins and pelts; ....


Title: Sami self government in Northern Europe: an example for northern Canadian Aboriginals

.... the Sami have their own parliament, there own government structure, and a great deal of land and hunting rights across their tradition territory ....


Title: The Visual and Aural Representations of the Cultural Geography of the Yukon-Alaska Borderland

The purpose of this project is to expand existing documentation of the cultural geography of the Yukon-Alaska borderlands through the integration of photographs and recordings of pronunciation of place which bear Athapaskan names within an existing geographical and textual database. ....

The Upper Tanana Dineh Place Names Dadtbase [sic] currently contains documentation of 647 named localities along the borderlands from the White River, Yukon, to Tanacross, Alaska. It exists in several formats (print, PDF and ArcView GIS and Filemaker databases). The Yukon Native Language Centre at Yukon College and Easton both hold photograpsh and aural recordings of many of these places. My work will integrate these photos and recordings direcly into the Filemaker database. Users of the database will then be able to see a visual representation of the place and hear an expert speaker pronounce the name of the place in the Upper Tanana language. ....

Indigenous Cultures in Digital Cultures

Spring Training: Workshops for EMACS, MATLAB®, and IDL

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