2017<br>Kim-Ly Thompson<br>“We Monitor by Living Here”: The Gitga’at Environmental Knowledge Project
posted on 6:38 PM, September 12, 2017
Kim-Ly is a Masters student at the University of Victoria’s School of Environmental Studies (Coast Salish Territory). She is of Vietnamese, Scottish and Irish ancestry and was raised along the shores of the Grand River in Southwestern Ontario (Haudenosaunee Territory). She earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Environmental Studies at McGill University in 2015 (Haudenosaunee Territory).
During the last two summers of her undergraduate studies, Kim-Ly was privileged to be welcomed to the Territory of the Gitga’at Nation where she studied the feeding behaviour of local humpback whale populations. Upon completing her B.Sc., she worked for the Gitga’at First Nation as a biological data analyst, working closely with the Gitga’at Guardians to study the health and abundance of traditional foods and other environmental indicators. Through her Masters project, she hopes to contribute to the well-being of a place and people who have offered her innumerable lessons.
"I am very grateful for Elizabeth Henry Scholarship’s support of a project that aims to bolster the voice of Gitga’at harvesters and knowledge holders in the ongoing stewardship of their territory in a time of rapid social and ecological change." - Kim-Ly Thompson
Ninety percent of Gitga’at people consume traditional seafood on a daily basis; the relationship held between Gitga’at and the ocean since time immemorial is alive and well. However, this social-ecological system is being stressed by a changing climate, resource mismanagement, industrial shipping proposals and other barriers to passing on ancestral teachings. Kim-Ly’s Masters research was designed with community leaders and seeks to inform a Gitga’at-owned monitoring program to document information and knowledge produced by Gitga’at people while harvesting and preparing traditional coastal resources. In the words of Hereditary Chief Albert Clifton: “We monitor our environment by living here”. The program will inform Gitga’at marine resource management, climate change adaptation, and bolster intergenerational knowledge transfer.