HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) – Researchers, community members, government agency staff and more filled the Michigan Tech University (MTU) Ballroom Monday morning.
The goal is to provide attendees a better understanding of Indigenous knowledge and practices.
It is part of a two-day Indigenous Knowledges Symposium. The event is a part of an integrated assessment research project sponsored by the Michigan Sea Grant.
“We were compiling and synthesizing Keweenaw Indian Community knowledge in their community from all the different data sets they have,” said MTU College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science Valoree Gagnon. “And then we are also writing a KBIC Indigenous Knowledge Guidance Document. And the third part of that project was to share those insights with many of KBIC’s partners.”
The event was organized through a partnership including the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), MTU, and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFC).
The event consists of workshops and presentations hosted by indigenous teachers.
The workshops cover an array of subjects like climate change and wildlife protection.
Organizers say the event also provides space for networking and collaboration.
“We’re also here together to strengthen relationships and build partnerships so we can also build our capacity to do the work that we’re doing together,” said MTU Great Lakes Research Center Geosciences Research Scientist Erika Vye. “Whether that’s in governance, stewardship, education concerning natural resources, that braids knowledge sets, and elevates indigenous knowledge in that work.”
The KBIC hopes that the knowledge shared at the symposium leaves a lasting impact on the community.
“This is a project that Dr Val Gagnon and I have dreamed of and talked about for many years,” said KBIC Natural Resources Department Director Evelyn Ravindran. “We hope that we could share more of our, The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Indigenous knowledge in a meaningful way to the community.”
The symposium will continue through Tuesday before finishing with a closing ceremony in the evening.