Indigenous knowledge on climate change, environment - contentious, muzzled

Wow - this looks like an increasingly ugly topic. The article in paywalled, but I'll do my best to try to summarize the important parts.

First up, despite the Minister emphasizing that indigenous knowledge has a role to play in the Artic, "Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq held a private, invitation-only meeting Wednesday on indigenous knowledge despite being in the heart of the one of the largest environmental congresses in the world." So, secrecy is apparently the word of the day, even in a venue where this topic should be a part of the conversation.

This is followed by the fact that the "chief scientist (of the new Canadian High Artic Research Station) said he couldn’t answer detailed questions from reporters on the role of indigenous knowledge in the project without first getting permission from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada." Gotta love that - the gov't invites the media to a science event, and then refuses to let the chief scientist talk about something that (as noted above) the Environment Minster has said has a role to play in their research topic.

The article goes on to underline that the government appears to say one thing on the topic of indigenous knowledge while doing exactly the opposite (i.e. ignoring it in practice).

This is probably because "environmentalists and the Inuit [are not] natural allies, since groups like Greenpeace have antagonized some communities by opposing oil and gas development that Inuit say is their decision alone." This is honestly a topic I had not really appreciated before, since I had always thought that the environmental issues were front and center for the Inuit as they affected their traditional ways of life. The fact that there is a tension between environmental and industrial concerns, even in the Artic, suggests that we are likely to see more issues crop up in the future.

So, the bottom line appears to be that - as always - the government wants to have it both ways in terms of the environment, economic exploitation of the Arctic, and dealing with First Nations, and scientists, Inuit, and the environment are caught in the middle. And - again, as always - the governments first instinct is to muzzle people in the hopes that the issue will either go away or, at least, the hope that they can "manage the message."

Damn that's ugly.

(FWIW - I'm sure I have not done the article justice. I hope the information becomes open source in the near future but I woudl also ask that you consider subscribing to iPolitics.ca if this topic interests you - they do good stuff and deserve support)