What's New / Events

Two Doctoral Scholarship Opportunities: Indigenous Knowledge and Fisheries, June 30

Exploring distinct indigenous knowledge systems to inform fisheries governance and management on Canada’s coasts

September 2012
Fisheries decision-making processes, influenced primarily by western science-based knowledge systems, have been unsuccessful in managing Canada’s fisheries effectively. This failure is further exacerbated by the growing challenges arising from climate induced changes on Canada’s three coasts and inland areas. As well, Canada’s current hierarchical governance regime is at odds with stakeholder demands for involvement in decision-making and the growing legal recognition to Aboriginal and treaty rights and Title. This approach to fisheries governance is also in conflict with the government’s goal of implementing a holistic, place-based ecosystem approach to fisheries. In contrast to the current federal regime, indigenous knowledge systems are based on a world view and values that is place-based and personal, rooted in a shared history, holistic, experiential and transmitted in oral language that is culturally dependent. Given the growing interplay between federal level and indigenous decision makers and the efforts underway in Canadian legislation to support the use of indigenous knowledge, the overarching goal of this research is to improve fisheries governance and management in Canada by understanding how indigenous knowledge systems can enhance the current regime for decision-making.
The acquired knowledge will serve to highlight the challenges and opportunities available to both indigenous (First Nations and Inuit) and non-indigenous decision makers and users to enhance fisheries governance in Canada. Key research questions focus on examining the extent to which western and indigenous knowledge systems influence fisheries governance at multiple levels and understanding how distinct IKSs can improve current efforts, given the complexities of ecosystems and uncertainties posed by climate-induced changes.
The partners are pan-Canadian with linkages to international fisheries and indigenous networks beneficial to the project’s success. They represent indigenous governance and research institutions with expertise in knowledge systems and fisheries management (the Assembly of First Nations, British Columbia First Nations Fisheries Council, Unama’ki Institute for Natural Resources and the Government of Nunavut) and indigenous and non-indigenous scholars with complementary expertise in aboriginal scholarship and fisheries governance from Dalhousie University, University of Guelph, University of Toronto and Vancouver Island University. The partnership spans four regions in Canada (Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic and Inland) and is committed to full and equal involvement in all aspects of the research and has a mutually-developed governance structure that is inclusive and based on consensus.
Our Partnership includes academic, community and government partners and supports innovative research, capacity building, and collaborative learning in each of the four regions described above. This project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
We are seeking two students at the doctoral level who will work with the project team to support the project goals in two of the four regions identified above. Two additional students will be recruited in 2013 for the remaining two regions.The students will join a large team of investigators, research fellows, staff and students joined together in a Partnership spread across Canada. This opportunity will focus their studies in one or more of the thematic areas described above, and each student’s research will focus on examining indigenous and non-indigenous knowledge systems relating to fisheries governance and management in one of the Canadian study regions. The student will enjoy working closely with other graduate students working in the area, will have the opportunity to share data and findings with our team, will benefit from a network of community, government and academic partners in each region and will be invited to participate in team research and knowledge mobilization (KMb) activities. Knowledge mobilization is defined in this project as the bringing together of knowledge, people and action to create added value to the study sites.

Students can be funded up to $20,000/year for four years. This is accompanied by a reasonable travel/research budget. Funding is available for enrolment beginning September, 2012. Graduate studies can be pursued at any one of the partner universities.

As project team members, the student will be expected to:

- Undertake self directed research within the proposal guidelines; – Participate in project-related events, including KMb activities; – Prepare publishable peer-reviewed articles based on their research; – Provide periodic updates and technical reports; – Include SSHRC Partnership Grant acknowledgement in all products related to the project.

The student must either be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and/or be conducting research at a Canadian academic institution. Please send a CV, cover letter, the names and contact information for 3 references and a maximum 2 page concept paper to Dr. Lucia Fanning (Principal Investigator):

The concept letter should address the expectations outlined above and contain: – Linkages with the project goals – Proposed objectives, approach and methodology; – Timing and duration of the project

Applications are requested prior to June 30, 2012.

Eligible applications from First Nations or Inuit applicants will be given preference.