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The Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) Working Group was an idea of Allister Marshall or Pot'lotek First Nation and Nadine Gauvin, former Executive Director of the Coalition-SGSL in 2005. The Steering Committee approved the creation for the group in that year. It has since worked on projects related to building capacity and sharing knowledge for local traditional ecological knowledge holders. It also has a focus on inter-generational knowledge sharing.

In two subsequent fiscal years,2006-07 and 2007-08, the group created and supervised the project `Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for Medecine Gatherers in Two Mi`kmaq Communities of New Brunswick`.

The project, which was sponsored by the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program (CCIAP) of Natural Resources Canada, consisted of working with local Mi’kmaq medicine gatherers of Elsipogtog First Nation and Eel River Bar First Nation in New-Brunswick. The purpose was to investigate and compare the effectiveness of different medicine gathering approaches as adaptation strategies in response to climate change impacts of the region. Elsipogtog is the most populous (approximately 1,500) Mi’kmaq community in New-Brunswick and is situated along the coast at the upper reaches of the Northumberland Strait. The Elsipogtog medicine gatherers’ approach of accessing and sustaining traditional resource (go to where the medicine is naturally located) was compared to Eel River Bar’s newest approach (develop a medicine garden) to determine the strengths and weaknesses of both approaches as adaptation strategies. Both approaches were evaluated in the context of increasing the adaptive capacity of the medicine gatherers with respect to climate change impacts. Both communities are Mi’kmaq and situated along the eastern coast of New-Brunswick though one, Eel River Bar, which is along the Chaleur Bay, is more sheltered and more inland.  

The need for this research is founded upon two sources of knowledge. First, the medicine gatherers in the Coalition-SGSL’s Traditional Ecological Knowledge working group expressed the importance and desire for more information regarding climate change impacts and the need for medicine gatherers involvement in adaptation solutions. Secondly, while participating in the Atlantic First Nations Environmental Network (AFNEN) and the Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Research Network (C-CIARN) Atlantic Region’s Adapting Water Management in First Nations Communities to Climate Change workshop in October 2005, the TEK working group were made aware of First Nations concerns regarding climate change impacts and adaptation strategies.

Interested in getting involved with a Working Group, but aren`t sure where to apply your expertise? Contact us!

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