This project is part of the Wildlife, Habitat and Harvesting program funded by the Environmental Studies Research Fund. The Camp was held on July 12-19, 2014 at Stewart Lake in the Tulı́t'a District, and provided an exciting and rare opportunity for a facilitated on-the-land exchange between Dene/Métis knowledge holders and scientists.
The Camp provided a forum for participants to learn about each other’s research questions and ways of learning about and monitoring wildlife, habitat, harvesting and water. The focal points of activities at the camp will be the two Environmental Studies Research Fund (ESRF) programs this year – Wildlife, Habitat and Harvesting, and Surface Water and Groundwater research. The emphasis will be on cross-cultural learning and relationship building, as well as collection of data in an area near the shale oil play.
Stewart Lake is where some Shúhtagot’ı̨nę people of Tulít’a have a camp. It has also been the site of a forestry camp in the past. It has an airstrip, good solid ground and cleared areas for camping. There is good fishing in the lake (particularly trout and whitefish) as well as outflow and inflow streams that could be used for CABIN water monitoring. Tǫdzı (boreal woodland caribou) are known to be present in the area. Over the past several decades there has been oil and gas exploration in the vicinity of Stewart Lake; there are three Significant Discovery licenses nearby; and over the past few years new leases have been awarded in the area for shale oil exploration. Thus, it is an important area for gathering baseline information. Stewart Lake itself is a Conservation Zone under the 2013 Sahtu Land Use Plan, but there is only a 1 km buffer around the lake.
The three key objectives of the Camp were: 1. Provide an opportunity for learning about traditional knowledge and scientific ways of knowing related to environmental research and monitoring in the shale oil play. 2. Contribute to data collection in an area of the Central Mackenzie Valley near potential hydrocarbon exploration and development. 3. Further understanding of research and monitoring needs in the region.
Featuring photos and voices of Sahtú Dene and Métis and scientists who lived, worked, learned and played together for a week in July, this video highlights the great things that are possible when people share knowledge and skills across cultures.