Advertisement

Human Ecology

, Volume 47, Issue 5, pp 777–784 | Cite as

Traditional Lifeways and Storytelling: Tools for Adaptation and Resilience to Ecosystem Change

  • John J. DaigleEmail author
  • Natalie Michelle
  • Darren J. Ranco
  • Marla R. Emery
Article
  • 132 Downloads

Abstract

We collected data through three focus groups conducted with Wabanaki citizens (members of the Penobscot Nation, Passamaquoddy Tribe, Maliseet, and Micmac Nations) residing in Maine, USA, and the Canadian Maritime region. These sessions used a collective storytelling and discussion approach consistent with Wabanaki cultural practices to explore environmental knowledge, information on environmental change, and its impact on traditional lifeways (TLW) over time. Wild foods such as fiddleheads (Matteucia strutiopteris (L.) Tod.), berries such as blackberries (Rubus allegheniensis & R. Canadensis) and strawberries (Fragaria x ananasa), deer (Odocoileus virginianus Zimmerman), fish, and seafood provide not only physical nourishment, but also cultural connections through storytelling, harvesting, processing, and sharing of resources. It is this strong and multifaceted dependence on natural resources and systems that makes Wabanaki citizens particularly “vulnerable” to climate change, but also potentially resilient because of stories and other cultural traditions that help process and understand environmental change. We suggest storytelling continues to remain relevant as a way to connect the generations and for continued adaptation to ecosystem change and sustaining traditions.

Keywords

Indigenous knowledge Knowledge transmission Traditional ecological knowledge Wabanaki Maine, USA Canadian Maritime region 

Notes

Data Availability Statement

The data that support the findings of this study are available on request from the corresponding author JD. The data are not publicly available due to them containing information that could compromise research participant privacy/consent.

Funding Information

This research project was funded by the U.S. Forest Service, Award Number 14-JV-11242309-101.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

All participants received notification of informed consent prior to the focus group sessions and we followed all other protocols approved by the University of Maine Human Subjects Office.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Armitage, D. R., Plummer, R., Berkes, F., Arthur, R. I., Charles, A. T., Davidson-Hunt, I. J., Diduck, A. P., Doubleday, N. C., Johnson, D. S., Marschke, M., McConnery, P., Pinkerton, E. W., and Wollenberg, E. K. (2009). Adaptive co-management for social-ecological complexity. Frontiers in Ecology 7(2): 95–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Athayde, S., Silva-Lugo, J., Schmink, M., and Heckenberger, M. (2017). The same, but different: Indigenous knowledge retention, erosion, and innovation in the Brazilian amazon. Human Ecology 45: 533–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bardsley, D., and Edwards-Jones, G. (2006). Stakeholders’ perception of the impacts of invasive exotic plant species in the Mediterranean region. GeoJournal 65(3): 199–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bennett, N. J., Blythe, J., Tyler, S., and Ban, N. C. (2016). Communities and change in the anthropocene: understanding socio-ecological vulnerability and planning adaptations to multiple interacting exposures. Regional Environmental Change 16: 907–926.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bennett T. M. B., Maynard N. G., Cochran P., Gough R., Lynn K., Maldonado J., Voggesser G., Wotkyns S., and Cozzetto K. (2014). Indigenous Peoples, Lands, and Resources. In Melillo J. M., Terese T., Richmond C., and Yohe G. W. (eds.), Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment, U.S. Global Change Research Program, pp. 297–317.Google Scholar
  6. Berkes, F., Colding, J., and Folke, C. (2000). Rediscovery of traditional ecological knowledge as adaptive management. Ecological Applications 10(5): 1251–1262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brooks, L. T., and Brooks, C. M. (2010). The reciprocity principle and traditional ecological knowledge: understanding the significance of Indigenous protest on the Presumpscot River. International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies: 11–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brooks, L. T. (2018). Our beloved kin: a new history of the King Philip's War, Yale University Press, New Haven and London.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chief, K., Daigle, J., Lynn, K., and Whyte, K. P. (2014). Indigenous Experiences in the U.S. with Climate Change and Environmental Stewardship in the Anthropocene. In Sample, V. A., and Bixler, P. (eds.), Forest Conservation and Management in the Anthropocene: Conference Proceedings, RMRS-P-71, US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort Collins.Google Scholar
  10. Creswell, J. W. (2013). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design; choosing among five approaches, 3rd edn., Sage, Los Angeles.Google Scholar
  11. Cronon, W. (1983). Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists and the Ecology of New England, Hill and Wang, New York.Google Scholar
  12. Dahlstrom, M. J. (2014). Using narratives and storytelling to communicate science with non-expert audiences. PNAS 111(Suppl 4): 13614–13620.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Daigle, J. J., and Putnam, D. (2009). The meaning of a changed environment: initial assessment of climate change impacts in Maine—indigenous peoples. In Jacobson, G. L., Fernandez, I. J., Mayewski, P. A., and Schmitt, C. V. (eds.), Maine’s climate future: an initial assessment, University of Maine, Orono, pp. 35–38.Google Scholar
  14. Daigle, J. J., Utley, L., Chase, L., Kuentzel, W., and Brown, T. (2012). Does new large private landownership and their management priorities influence public access in the northern forest? Journal of Forestry 110(2): 89–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Davidson-Hunt, I. J. (2006). Adaptive learning networks: Developing resource management knowledge through social learning forums. Human Ecology 34(4): 593–614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Davidson-Hunt, I., and Berkes, F. (2003). Learning as you journey: Anishinaabe perception of social-ecological environments and adaptive learning. Conservation Ecology 8(1): 5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dietz, T., Ostrom, E., and Stern, P. C. (2003). The struggle to govern the common. Science 302(5652): 1907–1912.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Endter-Wada, J. (1998). A framework for understanding social science contributions to ecosystem management. Ecological Applications: 891–904.Google Scholar
  19. Fawcett, D., Pearce, T., Notaina, R., Ford, J. D., and Collings, P. (2018). Inuit adaptability to changing environmental conditions over an 11-year period in Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories. Polar Record 54(275): 119–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fox, C. A., Reo, N. J., Turner, D. A., Cook, J., Ditruri, F., Fessell, B., Junkins, J., Johnson, A., Rakena, T. A., Riley, C., Turner, W. J., Williams, J., and Wilson, M. (2016). "The river is us; the river is in our veins": redefining river restoration in three Indigenous communities. Sustainability Science 11(3).Google Scholar
  21. Ginger, C., Emery, M., Baumflek, M., and Putnam, D. (2012). Access to natural resources on private property: Factors beyond right of entry. Society and Natural Resources 25: 700–715.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hardison, P., and Williams, T. (2013). Culture, law, risk and governance: the ecology of traditional knowledge in climate change adaptation. Climatic Change 120: 531–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hatfield, S. C., Marino, E., Whyte, K. P., Dello, K. D., and Mote, P. W. (2018). Indian time: time, seasonality, and culture in Traditional Ecological Knowledge of climate change. Ecological Processes 7(1): 7–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Houde N. (2007). The six faces of traditional ecological knowledge: Challenges and opportunities for Canadian co-management arrangements. Ecology and Society, On-line URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol2/iss2/art34/.
  25. Houser, S., Teller, V., MacCracken, M., Gough, R., and Spears, P. (2001). Potential consequences of climate variability and change for native peoples and their homelands. In National Assessment Synthesis Team (ed.), Climate Change Impacts in the United States, Cambridge University Press, New York, pp. 351–376.Google Scholar
  26. Kimmerer, R. (2014). Returning the gift. Minding Nature 7(2): 18–24.Google Scholar
  27. Lynn, K., Daigle, J., Hoffman, J., Lake, F., Michelle, N., Ranco, D., Viles, C., Voggesser, G., and Williams, P. (2013). The impacts of climate change on tribal traditional foods. Climatic Change 120: 545–556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Magis, K. (2010). Community resilience: An indicator of social sustainability. Society and Natural Resources 23(5): 401–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Marshall, C. M., and Rossman, G. B. (1999). Designing Qualitative Research, 3rd edn., Sage, Thousand Oakes.Google Scholar
  30. Nakashima, D. J., Galloway, M. L. K., Thulstrup, H. D., Ramos, C. A., and Rubis, J. T. (2012). Weathering uncertainty: traditional knowledge for climate change assessment and adaptation. Paris: UNESCO, and Darwin: UNU.: 120p.Google Scholar
  31. Pearce, T., Wright, H., Notaina, R., Kudlak, A., Smit, B., Ford, J. D., and Furgal, C. (2011). Transmission of environmental knowledge and land skills among Inuit men in Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories, Canada. Human Ecology 39: 271–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Olsson, P., Galaz, V., and Boonstra, W. J. (2014). Sustainability transformations: a resilience perspective. Ecology and Society 19(4): 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ranco, D. (2006). Toward a Native Anthropology: Hermeneutics, Hunting Stories, and Theorizing from Within. Wicazo Sa Review 21(2): 61–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Reo, N. J., and Parker, A. K. (2013). Re-thinking colonialism to prepare for the impacts of rapid environmental change. Climatic Change 120(3): 163–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Riedlinger, D., and Berkes, F. (2001). Contributions of traditional knowledge to understanding climate change in the Canadian Arctic. Polar Record 37: 315–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Robson, M., and Kant, S. (2009). The influence of context on deliberation and cooperation in community-based forest management in Ontario, Canada. Human Ecology 37: 547–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sakakibara, C. (2008). Our home is drowning: Inupiat storytelling and climate change in Point Hope, Alaska. Geographical Review 98(4): 456–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Simonds, V., and Christopher, S. (2013). Adapting western research methods to Indigenous ways of knowing. American Journal of Public Health 103(12): 2185–2192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Speck, F. (1940). Penobscot Man, University of Maine Press, Orono.Google Scholar
  40. Stevenson, M. G. (1996). Indigenous knowledge in environmental assessment. Artic: 278–291.Google Scholar
  41. Sundin, A., Andersson, K., and Watt, R. (2018). Rethinking communication: integrating storytelling for increased stakeholder engagement in environmental evidence synthesis. Environmental Evidence 7: 6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (Swinomish). (2010). Swinomish climate change initiative: climate adaptation action plan. La Conner, WA: Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. http://www.swinomish-nsn.gov/climate_change/climate_main.html
  43. Te Aho, L. (2009). Negotiating co-management of the Waikato River. Resource Management Journal: 14–18.Google Scholar
  44. Turner, A. G., and Clifton, H. (2009). “It’s so different today”: climate change and indigenous lifeways in British Columbia, Canada. Global Environmental Change 19(2): 180–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Voggesser, G., Lynn, K., Daigle, J., Lake, F., and Ranco, D. (2013). Cultural impacts to tribes from climate change influences on forests. Climatic Change 120: 615–626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Whyte, K. P. (2013). Justice forward: tribes, climate adaptation and responsibility in Indian country. Climatic Change 120: 517–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wildcat, D. (2009). Red alert: saving the planet with Indigenous knowledge, Fulcrum Publishing, Golden.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Forest Resources, College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and AgricultureUniversity of MaineOronoUSA
  2. 2.Ecology and Environmental Sciences programUniversity of MaineOronoUSA
  3. 3.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of MaineOronoUSA
  4. 4.U.S. Forest ServiceNorthern Research StationBurlingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations