Retaining Knowledge Sovereignty: Expanding the Application of Tribal Traditional Knowledge on Forest Lands in the Face of Climate Change
This report is Part II of a two part series produced under the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative Tribal Climate Change initiative on Knowledge Sovereignty. Part I Karuk Traditional Ecological Knowledge and the Need for Knowledge Sovereignty: Social, Cultural and Economic Impacts of Denied Access to Traditional Management situates Karuk traditional knowledge in the practice of cultural management, indicating how Karuk knowledge must remain connected to both the practices that generated the information, and the practices that emerge from it. Part I of this report emphasized two key concepts; first that what we call “traditional ecological knowledge” or “TEK” is not an isolated entity but an enactment of cultural and spiritual practices in the landscape. Karuk and other traditional knowledge is embedded in, and emerges from the practices of traditional management. Second, even it were possible, it is unethical to attempt to remove TEK from Tribal context. Attempts to extract knowledge are a form of cultural appropriation that erodes the very foundations of Tribal life. Knowledge and management are about identity, culture, spiritual practice and subsistence economic activity. This report, Retaining Knowledge Sovereignty: Expanding the Application of Tribal Traditional Knowledge on Forest Lands in the Face of Climate Change draws from the experiences of the Karuk Tribe in combination with a review of Tribal case studies, academic and legal literature and current policy initiatives to outline current cultural and institutional barriers for the sovereignty of traditional ecological knowledge and provide a range of recommendations for their resolution at federal, statewide and regional levels.