Dene Understanding of the Land: On Habitats and Relationships, and Reflections on Change
Main Johnson, Leslie
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Northern Athapaskan speakers experience shifting ecological conditions over the seasons, and over longer periods of time. People travel, animals travel, caribou migration routes shift. Traditional knowledge of Dene is flexible, relational and responsive, emphasizing observation, adaptation and resilience. With climate change, ranges of plant species, migrations of animal species, and weather patterns shift. Political and economic factors impinging on people and land are also changing. The nature, transmission and relevance of traditional knowledge of land is impacted by all of these factors. I describe aspects of Dene knowledge of landscape and reflect on the adaptive responsiveness of traditional understandings.