Human Ecology

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 563-574

First online:

Blundering Intruders: Extraneous Impacts on Two Indigenous Food Systems

  • Nancy J. TurnerAffiliated withSchool of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria Email author 
  • , Fikret BerkesAffiliated withNatural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba
  • , Janet StephensonAffiliated withCenter for Sustainability, Agriculture, Food, Energy and Environment, University of Otago
  • , Jonathan DickAffiliated withCenter for Sustainability, Agriculture, Food, Energy and Environment, University of Otago

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Indigenous communities commonly face a major impediment in their ongoing efforts to participate effectively in the stewardship and sustainable management of their traditional lands, waters and resources. Externally driven projects and policies can overwhelm communities' abilities to respond, severely impact in their resource base, and significantly eclipse traditional knowledge, practices and values. Such projects and policies can be devastating to small, Indigenous communities struggling to maintain their culture and economic independence in a changing world. While many examples of external impacts on small-scale resource use could be drawn upon for these communities, we illustrate this situation by examining the impact of fisheries management regimes on Indigenous coastal communities in British Columbia, Canada and Aotearoa New Zealand. We characterize the problem and identify key stressors involved. Within the context of Indigenous rights and Indigenous peoples' knowledge, perspectives and experience, we highlight the need to recognize this type of constraint on Indigenous Peoples' resource use and effective participation in resource management.


Indigenous fishing rights Indigenous values Colonization Indigenous stewardship Sustainable resource management