Tag Archives: Biodiversity

Traditional Knowledge of Indigenous and Local Communities: International Debate and Policy Initiatives

Module 1 – Post 1


This paper will review international law and policies regarding the rights of indigenous people and local communities. As such, they are defining the role of traditional and indigenous knowledge in the organization and conservation of biodiversity.

Dr. Nancy Turner

Dr. Nancy Turner is a distinguished professor at UVic and the Hakai Chair of Ethnoecology.

I had the good fortune almost 20 years ago to attend Dr. Turner’s environmental studies course on ethnobotany, the study of plants in the traditional contexts of the people who use them.

When we attended traditional activities like a beach pit cooking it was possibly my first (non museum) introduction to living, breathing First Nations culture. We made many things with our hands in her class, like pine needle baskets. But this was not your stereotypical basket weaving course, the kind you’d sign up for to pad your course load.

This is a woman who has dedicated her life’s work to understanding and championing Traditional Ecological Knowledge. This is her personal website.


Module 1 post 3

Module 2 – Post 3: Nancy Turner on the importance of BioDiversity to First Nations

Nancy Turner addresses the importance of biodiversity and its importance to First Nations  in maintaining the same and enhancing it throughout the history.

She goes on to say:

“Not only is biodiversity important in food systems, technology, and medicine, but plants, animals and fungi are also prominent in First Nations’ belief systems, art, songs and ceremonies (Turner 1988, 2005). Ceremonial species and those featured in art and narrative are often the same ones that had practical application (Garibaldi and Turner 2004). The richness of Northwest Coast First Peoples’ intense connections with biodiversity is reflected perhaps most famously in their world- renowned artforms representing stylized animals, birds, fish and other beings, in magnificent wooden sculptures, totempoles, masks and dishes, as well as in exquisite jewelry and paintings (cf. Holm 1965, 1990; MacDonald 1996).

Please see here: