Transcript: Enhancing Climate Change | Oct 01, 2021


Jeyan Jeganathan wears a dark blue suit jacket over a white shirt and red tie. He has short black curly hair and a trimmed moustache and beard. He sits with his hands folded on a table in front of him. A screen behind him reads “Ontario Hubs.”

Jeyan says, AS THE EFFECTS OF
CLIMATE CHANGE BECOME MORE
EVIDENT, THE NEED FOR GOOD
INFORMATION, AND SOLUTIONS, IS
OBVIOUS.

Text beneath Jeyan reads “A. Enhancing Climate Science.”

Jeyan says, CHARNEL ANDERSON COVERS THE
NORTHWESTERN PART OF THE
PROVINCE FOR OUR ONTARIO HUBS.

Charnel smiles. She wears her black and blonde hair loose over her shoulders. She has brown hair and wears glasses. Charnel smiles.

Jeyan continues, SHE'S BEEN SPEAKING TO EXPERTS
ABOUT WHAT INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE
SYSTEMS HAVE TO OFFE
TRADITIONAL CLIMATE SCIENCE AND
HOW TO INTEGRATE THAT TO GET
BETTER OUTCOMES FOR EVERYONE.

AND CHARNEL ANDERSON JOINS US
NOW FROM RED ROCK ON THE NORTH
SHORE OF LAKE SUPERIOR.

HELLO.

Charnel says, HI, JEYAN.

Jeyan says, ALL RIGHT.
LET'S START OFF WITH TALKING
ABOUT WHAT EXACTLY INDIGENOUS
KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS ARE.

Text beneath “Enhancing Climate Science” reads “What is Indigenous Knowledge?”

Charnel says, RIGHT.
THERE'S NO UNIVERSAL DEFINITION
FOR WHAT AN INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE
SYSTEM IS.

THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF
INDIGENOUS CULTURES ACROSS THE
GLOBE AND JUST AS MANY KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS.

Text beneath Charnel reads “Charnel Anderson, Northwestern Ontario Hub Journalist.”

Charnel says, BUT BROADLY SPEAKING, AS ONE OF
MY SOURCES DEBORAH McGREGOR
EXPLAINS, INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE
SYSTEMS ARE USED TO SUPPORT
INDIGENOUS SOCIETIES, AND SO
INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS
HAVE THEIR OWN EXPERTS AND THEIR
OWN WAYS OF GENERATING AND
CONVEYING KNOWLEDGE.

AN EXAMPLE OF THIS WOULD BE IN
ANISHINAABE CULTURE, THE EXPERTS
COULD BE CONSIDERED ELDERS OR
KNOWLEDGE-KEEPERS AND THEY
TRANSMIT KNOWLEDGE THROUGH ORAL
TRADITIONS, LIKE ORAL HISTORIES,
STORYTELLING, AS WELL AS CEREMONY.

ANOTHER BIG PART OF KNOWLEDGE
TRANSMISSION IS LANGUAGE.
AS YOU KNOW, LANGUAGE AND
CULTURE ARE INEXTRICABLY LINKED,
RIGHT, AND LANGUAGE KIND OF
HELPS SHAPE OUR WORLD VIEW.

SO IN ORDER TO FULLY UNDERSTAND
A KNOWLEDGE SYSTEM, I THINK IT
HELPS TO UNDERSTAND THE
LANGUAGE, AND THAT'S JUST LIKE
ANYTHING, LIKE FINANCE OR
ACADEMIA OR JOURNALISM, YOU HAVE
TO KNOW THE LINGO.

SO THESE SYSTEMS ARE VARIED BUT
THEY'RE ALSO LOCALIZED.
SO THERE ARE SOME COMMONALITIES
IN THAT SENSE WHERE INDIGENOUS
KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS ARE
PLACE-BASED AND THEY'RE KIND OF
BASED ON THIS CONNECTION WITH
THE LAND AND KNOWLEDGE IS
GENERATED THROUGH THAT
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LAND.

Jeyan asks, SO WHERE DID THIS
IDEA COME FROM THAT, YOU KNOW,
THESE SYSTEMS COULD HELP CLIMATE CHANGE?

Charnel says, SO I THINK IT COMES FROM THE
FACT THAT INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE
SYSTEMS ARE BASED ON THIS
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LAND, AND
OFTENTIMES THAT INCLUDES
PRINCIPLES OF SUSTAINABILITY,
SUSTAINABLE RESOURCE USE.

A headline on a website reads “What are Indigenous knowledge systems—and how can they help fight climate change?” The URL reads tvo.org/OntarioHubs

Charnel says, AND THERE'S LOTS OF RESEARCH ON
THE RESULTS OF THESE SYSTEMS.

SO, FOR EXAMPLE, A POPULAR
FIGURE THAT'S FLOATING AROUND
OUT AROUND THERE IS INDIGENOUS
PEOPLE MAKE UP FIVE PERCENT OF THE GLOBAL
POPULATION BUT EIGHTY PERCENT OF GLOBAL
BIODIVERSITY IS IN LANDS MANAGED
BY INDIGENOUS PEOPLE.

SO IN MANY PLACES, INCLUDING
CANADA, LANDS MANAGED BY
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE, THEY CONTAIN
MORE OR JUST AS MUCH
BIODIVERSITY AS PROTECTED AREAS DO.

Jeyan nods.

Charnel continues, SO DEBORAH McGREGOR,
SHE TOLD ME IT'S SAFE TO SAY THAT
INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS ARE
MAINTAINING ECOLOGICAL INTEGRITY.

I THINK THE QUESTION IS HOW.

Jeyan says, I'M CURIOUS IF YOU
COULD YOU GIVE US AN EXAMPLE OF
HOW THE HOLISTIC APPROACH TO THE
ENVIRONMENT COULD HELP SCIENTISTS.

Charnel, SO I THINK ONE EXAMPLE,
WHICH, YOU KNOW, MIGHT BE USEFUL
FOR US HERE UP IN NORTHWESTERN
ONTARIO IS INDIGENOUS FIRE MANAGEMENT.

AS YOU KNOW IT'S BEEN A PRETTY
BRUTAL FIRE SEASON THIS YEAR.
THERE'S NEARLY TWO TIMES AS MANY
FIRES THIS YEAR COMPARED TO LAST.

AND GENERALLY THE PROVINCE'S
APPROACH TO FIRE MANAGEMENT IS
SUPPRESSION, RIGHT?

JUST GET THE FIRE OUT AS SOON AS
POSSIBLE SO YOU LIMIT THE DAMAGE
THAT'S BEING DONE.
BUT FIRE CAN ACTUALLY BE USED TO
FIGHT FIRE.

SO RESEARCH HAS SHOWN THAT
INDIGENOUS MANAGEMENT PRACTICES,
SUCH AS CULTURAL BURNS, HELP TO
MITIGATE WILDFIRE.

Jeyan nods.

Charnel says, AND THAT'S SIMILAR TO CONTROLLED
BURNS OR PRESCRIBED BURNS WHICH
THE MNR DOES WITH THE AIM OF
ELIMINATING FUELS, SO KIND OF
BURNING UP ALL THOSE DEAD
STICKS, LEAVES AND TREES IN
ORDER TO KEEP FOREST FIRES UNDER
CONTROL WHEN THEY DO HAPPEN.

WHEREAS WITH CULTURAL BURNING,
THE GOAL IS TO KIND OF SHAPE THE LANDSCAPE.

THIS IS SOMETHING THAT
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE HAVE BEEN
DOING FOREVER, AND, YOU KNOW,

KIND OF BEEN DISRUPTED BECAUSE
OF COLONIALISM AND THIS
INSISTENCE ON FIRE SUPPRESSION,
BUT CULTURAL BURNING HAS A
PLETHORA OF BENEFITS, NOT ONLY
FOR BIODIVERSITY BUT IT
ENCOURAGES THE GROWTH OF
DIFFERENT FOOD SOURCES LIKE
BERRIES AND MUSHROOMS WHICH THEN
ATTRACT ANIMALS.

IN ADDITION TO MITIGATING
WILDFIRES, IT'S A PRACTICE THAT
CAN BRING LIFE BACK INTO AN ECOSYSTEM.

Jeyan says, I WANT TO TALK A
LITTLE BIT ABOUT SORT OF HOW,
YOU KNOW, THE SCIENCE COMMUNITY,
WESTERN SCIENCE, CAN WORK WITH
SORT OF THE TRADITIONAL
KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS.

THERE WAS THIS GREAT QUOTE IN
YOUR ARTICLE, AND I WANT TO READ IT.

IT SAID “HOW DO YOU FIT A ROUND
PEG INTO A SQUARE HOLE.
YOU MAKE IT SMALLER.”

AND IT TALKED A LITTLE BIT ABOUT
SORT OF THE REDUCTIONIST
APPROACH WHEN WE TALK ABOUT
WESTERN SCIENCE.

CAN YOU EXPLAIN A LITTLE BIT
ABOUT SORT OF THE CHALLENGES IN
TERMS OF INTEGRATING THE TWO?

Charnel say, YEAH.
I MEAN, IT'S A REALLY
CHALLENGING FEAT TO UNITE
INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS
WITH WESTERN BECAUSE THEY ARE
DIFFERENT IN A LOT OF WAYS AND
YOU KIND OF HINTED AT THAT.

INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE TENDS TO
SUBJECTIVE AND HOLISTIC, WHEREAS
WESTERN SCIENCE IS MORE
OBJECTIVE AND REDUCTIONIST IN
THAT IT KIND OF ZEROS IN WITH A
LASER FOCUS ON ONE THING, RIGHT?

AS WELL, WESTERN SCIENCE, YOU
FIND THAT WRITTEN DOWN IN
ACADEMIC JOURNALS, WHEREAS IF
YOU'RE LOOKING FOR INDIGENOUS
KNOWLEDGE, YOU NEED TO GO FIND A
KNOWLEDGE-KEEPER WHO IS GOING TO
SHARE THAT INFORMATION WITH YOU
ORALLY AND THERE ARE DIFFERENT
PROTOCOLS FOR THAT.

SO THERE ARE CHALLENGES IN
BRINGING THESE TWO THINGS
TOGETHER, NOT ONLY IN ACADEMICS
AND IN RESEARCH BUT EVEN FEDERAL
POLICY, FOR EXAMPLE.

Jeyan nods as Charnel speaks.

Charnel says, SO FEDERAL CLIMATE POLICY, THE
PAN-CANADIAN FRAMEWORK AND
HEALTHY PLANET, HEALTHY
ENVIRONMENT, HAVE INTENTIONS OF
INCLUDING INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE,
BUT THESE POLICIES HAVE BEEN
CRITICIZED FOR EXCLUDING
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE FROM THE
DECISION-MAKING TABLE.

SO I THINK THAT KIND OF GOES
BACK TO THE QUOTE ABOUT HOW DO
YOU FIT A SQUARE PEG INTO A
ROUND HOLE?

AND THE GOVERNMENT KIND OF HAS A
PROPENSITY TO CONSULT WITH
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE, WHICH IS
DIFFERENT THAN, YOU KNOW, BEING
AT THE DECISION-MAKING TABLE OR
HAVING THE POWER TO MAKE
DECISIONS, RIGHT?

IN CONSULTATION YOU CAN ASK,
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?
OKAY, GREAT, THANK YOU, AND THEN
JUST COMPLETELY DISREGARD THEM.

SO THERE ARE DEFINITELY SOME
ISSUES THAT NEED TO BE WORKED
THROUGH IN ORDER TO UTILIZE
INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE TO ITS
FULLEST EXTENT IN POLICY ISSUES,
BUT THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE
WHO ARE REALLY PASSIONATE AS
RESEARCHERS WHO ARE TRYING TO
FIGURE OUT HOW THESE TWO THINGS
CAN WORK TOGETHER.

Jeyan nods.

Charnel says, WHAT I'M HEARING IS THIS PROCESS
REALLY NEEDS TO BE
INDIGENOUS-LED.

IT GOES BACK TO WESTERN SOCIETY
TRYING TO ASSIMILATE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE.

SO THE FEELING IS IT NEEDS TO BE
INDIGENOUS-LED, IT NEEDS TO BE
DONE WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AT
THE HEART OF IT, NOT JUST
INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE, RIGHT?

SO THAT BEING SAID, THERE ARE
MODELS BEING DEVELOPED TO KIND
OF HELP FACILITATE A
CO-EXISTENCE BETWEEN THESE TWO SYSTEMS.

ONE EXAMPLE IS TWO-EYED SEEING
WHICH IS USED IN RESEARCH AND
THAT ALLOWS RESEARCHERS TO KIND
OF LOOK AT A PROBLEM FROM TWO PERSPECTIVES.

IT'S CHALLENGING, BUT THERE ARE
PEOPLE WORKING ON SOLUTIONS.
IT'S JUST GOING TO TAKE TIME TO
KIND OF IRON OUT THESE BUMPS.

Jeyan says, IT'S SOMETHING WE
WILL LOOK FORWARD TO AND LOOK
FORWARD TO SOME OF YOUR
REPORTING ON THAT.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, CHARNEL.
REALLY APPRECIATE IT.

Charnel says, THANKS, JEYAN.

Text reads “Produced by Carla Luccehtta. @carrletta”

[Serene music plays]

“Ontario Hubs.”

“Ontario Hubs are made possible by:
The Barry and Laurie Green Family Charitable Trust
& Goldie Feidman.”

Watch: Enhancing Climate Change