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dc.contributor.authorJohnson, Leslie
dc.descriptionI attended the Society of Ethnobiology Annual Conference, held this year in the Denver Botanic Gardens in Denver Colorado. The session I presented in was entitled “Pursuing a ‘Good Life’ within Contested Landscapes: Ethnoecologies of Practice in Contemporary Perspective.” This session was co-organized with Dr. Iain Davidson-Hunt of the Natural Resource Institute of the University of Winnipeg. The general theme of the session deals with the relationship of mental and physical health and well being to activities on the land, and the difficulties in adapting to environmental change in continuing to seek a satisfying and healthy way of life. The papers in our session featured three Canadian First Nation groups, and one group from Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo). My paper was co-authored with my Kaska collaborator and was entitled “Challenges to Connection: Changes in the land in ways of life in Kaska Dena Territory. Our paper spoke to changes in the Kaska Dena homeland in the southern Yukon, and the challenges faced by people attempting to continue to life a healthy life there. It was based in part on our 2010 Athabasca Research Grant to investigate Kaska Elders’ knowledge of environmental change. One of the challenges to connection for contemporary Kaska is loss of language, and other challenges include environmental impacts of resource development, and basic changes in the way of life because of school attendance and the wage economy. Kaska people are resilient, and are seeking to find ways forward which enable continuation of core values in the land, and maintenance of health. The paper following mine was co-presented by AU tutor Janelle Baker and her student Andrew Paul, entitled “Wehea Dayak Forest Guardians: Becoming men and practicing health.” This joint presentation described an ethnoecology project with Wehea Dayak. Mr. Paul is an undergraduate student who plans to major in anthropology, and he gave an impressive conference presentation. While at the congress I was able to hear a number of papers that dealt with a wide range of cultural knowledge of plants, animals and environments, which is the subject area of ethnobiology. Conference participants were mainly from the United States, with a strong contingent of Canadian scholars and students. I also participated in a field trip to the US Rocky Mountain National Park where I was able to learn about a range of management issues in the park around ecological balance, and incorporation of Indian activities in the park area (as well as enjoy the lovely scenery, which reminded me of Canada, and the snowy weather which also reminded me of homeen
dc.description.abstractThe relationship to land is crucial for the well being of Kaska people. To maintain connection to the land, skills and language are both needed. Much knowledge about the land and how to live well on the land and with other beings of the land is encoded in language. When transmission of language is disrupted, the philosophy and cosmology of the Kaska way of life become difficult to carry on, and this impacts the ability of younger generations to live on and with the land. When people are cut off from the land, physical, social and spiritual health suffer. Changes in residence patterns and changes in the land itself contribute to the difficulty of maintaining connection and health. Some change is a result of climate change, while other impacts are caused by industrial activities such as mining, which may compromise waterways, contaminate traditional foods, change animal behaviour, and contribute to social problems.en
dc.subjectEthnoecology Connectionen
dc.titleChallenges to Connection- Changes in the Land and in Ways of Life in Kaska Dena Territoryen

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