Subproject for Participant Costs # SP0063951 SCC-CIVIC-PG Track B: Strengthening Resilience of Ojibwe Nations across Generations (STRONG): Sovereignty, Food, Water, and Cultural (in)Security

Project: Research project

Project Details


Project summary: SCC-CIVIC-PG Track B: Strengthening Resilience of Ojibwe Nations across Generations (STRONG): Sovereignty, Food, Water, and Cultural (in)Security Overview The Ojibwe, the largest Indigenous population in the Western Great Lakes region and one of the largest cultural groups in North America, have adapted over thousands of years to natural and manmade disasters. The aim of this project is to integrate scientific ecological knowledge (SEK) with traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) to develop indicators for a robust and culturally relevant resilience framework for anticipating and mitigating socio-environmental disasters in Great Lakes Native Nations. Through a sovereignty-affirming approach that advances cultural, food, and water security, we will use this framework to develop monitoring, prediction, and response systems and decision-making tools for strengthening Ojibwe resilience. Our work is centered in four guiding principles for collaborative, tribally driven research (4Rs): Relationships, Respect, Reciprocity, and Responsibility. To develop a strong foundation for achieving the project’s vision, we will pursue three specific objectives during the Stage 1 planning grant: (1) Strengthen Ojibwe tribes’ scientific capacities through deployment of technologies and delivery of co-developed trainings across Ojibwe communities and generations that address community-identified priorities; (2) Empirically capture TEK and SEK that reflect the hierarchically dependent relationships and health of the Four Orders in real-time; and, (3) Catalyze impact with communities by prioritizing Ojibwe Nations’ sovereignty and cultural security to focus governance efforts on developing usable data-driven approaches to disaster anticipation and mitigation. Intellectual merit of proposed work While prior resilience research has focused primarily on cities, large-scale food and energy production, water resources, and industrial systems, our approach is grounded in the more holistic Ojibwe worldview that recognizes the hierarchically dependent relationships between the Ojibwe Four Orders (physical, plant, animal, human) and the importance of cultural security for maintaining these relationships. We will establish new methodologies incorporating the Four Orders, in the form of traditional ecological knowledge and cultural practices, with state-of-the-art environmental sensing and data science. We will develop approaches to effectively synthesize sensing data with TEK that is culturally derived and place specific. This project will advance sensing capabilities and decision systems to enable Ojibwe Nations to track and respond to the combination of long-term environmental changes and short-term perturbations and disasters that threaten their lifeways. To be useful, this information must recognize and affirm the sovereignty of Ojibwe Nations over their own resilience objectives, knowledge, data, and governance. We will develop, test, and refine new tools for strengthening resilience of Ojibwe communities that recognize and incorporate tribal culture and knowledge to enable more dynamic and effective decision-making. Broader impacts of proposed work The project will achieve substantial and broad impact by developing essential capability to enable Ojibwe Native nations to incorporate TEK, sensor data, and climate science for (1) developing (intervention) pathways to adaptation and/or increased resilience for culturally significant plants and animals and (2) guiding community development plans to minimize adverse impacts on surface and
Effective start/end date1/15/2112/31/22


  • National Science Foundation (CNS-2044053)


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