Case Studies and Conflicting Interests
Elgar Intellectual Property and Global Development series
Edited by Tania Bubela and E. Richard Gold
Chapter 10: Respecting and Aligning Knowledge Systems in Northern Canada: Beyond the International Polar Year
David S. Hik, Tania Bubela and Scot Nickels INTRODUCTION During the past decade there has been growing interest in reconciling the influence and rights of Arctic residents within existing and emerging legal, governmental and scientific frameworks.1 Community-driven and collaborative research, where traditional and local knowledge (TK) has been considered an equally valuable knowledge system alongside Western science, has emerged. In Canada, these programmes include the Northern Contaminants Program, some research projects associated with the International Polar Year, and with the large Networks of Centers of Excellence project devoted to Arctic research, ArcticNet. The existing legal framework in Northern Canada, described by Metcalf and Bubela in the previous chapter, requires scientists working in Canada’s north to consult with First Nations and Inuit communities when conducting research within their territory, but there is no requirement for sharing benefits. As noted by Metcalf and Bubela, the duty to consult with Aboriginal peoples and to integrate their perspective, including TK, in decision-making and administrative processes that affect them is apparent in a wide range of federal 1 Aspen Institute, ‘The Shared Future: A Report of the Aspen Institute Commission On Arctic Climate Change’ (Washington, DC: The Aspen Institute, 2011) available at: http://www.aspeninstitute.org/publications/shared-future-report-aspeninstitute-commission-arctic-climate-change (last accessed November 2011) [Aspen Institute]; M.T.Bravo, ‘Arctic science, nation building and citizenship’, in Francis Abele, Thomas J. Courchene, F. Leslie Seidle & France St-Hilaire, eds, Northern Exposure: Peoples, Powers, and Prospects in Canada’s North (Montreal: Institute for Research in Public Policy, 2009) at 141; David M. Brock, ‘When is research relevant...
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