Minister Aglukkaq announces Canadian nominees to serve as traditional knowledge experts on North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation

BOSTON, July 15, 2015 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, announced the Canadian nominees to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) roster of experts on traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) at the Council Session in Boston, Massachusetts.

When considered alongside science, traditional knowledge contributes to improved understanding of ecological processes, increased efficiency in scientific research and new opportunities for capacity building and learning.

Canada's experts will provide advice on how to apply traditional knowledge to the Commission's initiatives to protect the environment. All of the nominees bring diverse perspectives from across Canada to the CEC in areas, such as biology, ecology, law, land management, and agriculture. The nominees are Dr. Donna Hurlburt (First Nations), Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia; Kathy L. Hodgson-Smith (Métis), Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Leah Manik Muckpah (Inuit), Arviat, Nunavut; Melissa Hotain (First Nations), Winnipeg, Manitoba; and Norman Sterriah (First Nations), Ross River, Yukon.

The creation of the trilateral roster of traditional knowledge experts is a key initiative that was championed by Canada. Today's announcement builds on Minister Aglukkaq's ongoing efforts to incorporate traditional knowledge into the work of the CEC and international decision‑making on environmental issues.

In her role as Chair of the Arctic Council, the Minister charted a path forward to ensure the traditional and local knowledge of Arctic peoples and their communities is included in the work of the Council.

Last December, Minister Aglukkaq hosted an international discussion at the Conference of Parties Climate Summit in Lima, Peru, to discuss how traditional knowledge can support the development of successful environmental policies and programs in countries across the world.

Quick Facts

  • The Canadian experts will join American and Mexican experts to form a 15-member trilateral roster of experts on traditional ecological knowledge.
  • As the first and only country to consider TEK in assessing polar bear population trends, Canada has benefited from a world-class and scientifically based polar bear management system.
  • In order to realize the benefits of using traditional knowledge to inform science, an approach is needed that engages indigenous peoples effectively throughout the scientific process, from initial design and preparation, to data analysis and interpretation.
  • Environment Canada is currently developing a departmental guidance document to assist officials in more effective and consistent use of traditional knowledge.
  • Under Canada's chairmanship, the Arctic Council developed recommendations to incorporate traditional knowledge and local knowledge into the Council's work.


"As an Inuk who was raised in the Canadian Arctic, I have seen first-hand the value traditional knowledge provides in improving our understanding of the world around us. Aboriginal people have a unique understanding of the environment from living off the land for thousands of years. I hope today's discussion will foster and advance international awareness about the benefits of incorporating the knowledge held by indigenous peoples into environmental decision-making at both the domestic and international level. I know Canada's nominees will contribute a tremendous wealth of knowledge and understanding of the land and our environment to the work of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation and build stronger ties among Canada, the United States and Mexico."
– The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council

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Biographies of TEK Nominees

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SOURCE Environment Canada

For further information: Ted Laking, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of the Environment, 819-997-1441; Media Relations, Environment Canada, 819-934-8008


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