Keyano launches environmental monitoring program combining Western, Indigenous knowledge

October 31, 2018

Keyano College has launched a new environmental monitoring program in Fort Chipewyan that brings together Western science and Indigenous knowledge. The program was launched in October, and its first group of students are studying in Fort Chipewyan: a Cree, Dene, and Métis community that has long raised concerns about pollution and low water levels. “I jumped at it,” said Kevin Marten, a member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation and one of the program’s first students. “The people who do the testing feel passionate about it and that's what I want. I want to be part of something.” Keyano Instructor Sithara Fernando acknowledged the tension between Western science and Indigenous traditional knowledge, but said that the tension made the students stronger. “We are braiding Western science and Indigenous knowledge together, and if you have ever braided your hair, you actually need to pull for the braid to be strong,” explained Fernando. “Without that tension the students don't get any value. If I was to braid with only western science [...] the braid will fall apart.” CBC