A Reader- Foreword by Akwasi Asabere-Ameyaw
Edited By George J. Sefa Dei
28. Indigenous Knowledge: Multiple Approaches Priscilla Settee 434
As a First Nations Swampy Cree woman,1 I am proud of my heritage. My ancestral lands werelocated in the boreal landscape of northern Saskatchewan. The region was once an intact for- est ecosystem that contained an undulating patchwork of slow-growing ever green forests. It still shares weathered outcrops of granite and innumerable lakes, marshes, bogs, and other wetlands that are typically found along the Canadian Shield. This magnificent shield sweeps in a broad arc through northern Alberta and Saskatchewan. I first became interested in Indigenous Knowledge Systems because of my roots in this resource-rich community. As a second-generation urban First Nations person, it was the self-sufficiency, beauty, and knowledge of northern and land-based com- munities that spoke to me. Teaching in the North in the mid-1970s, I witnessed a transformation. Communities, which were self-sufficient, were being negatively impacted by development in the form of clear-cuts, forestry, and mining. In 1967, the Squaw Rapids Dam, later named the E. B. Campbell Dam, was completed. The disruption of the natural water flow had a negative impact on the area’s natural resources. Economically, it was catastrophic for those who earned their livelihood as fish- ers and trappers. Over time, many people were forced to move to cities in search of work or languish with destroyed local economies and ways of life. I noticed the commonality of Western developmental impact on the majority of Indigenous communities in my province and throughout Canada. The human cost of development was immeasurable. During the early 1970s,...
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