Abstract Title

Session S-10F: Understanding and Communicating Salish Sea Human Dimensions and Ecological Health

Proposed Abstract Title

Rethinking Public Interpretation Around the Salish Sea

Presenter/Author Information

Kelly Black, Carleton UniversityFollow

Keywords

Planning Assessment & Communication

Location

Room 602-603

Start Date

2-5-2014 1:30 PM

End Date

2-5-2014 3:00 PM

Description

In developing an understanding of the Salish Sea as a shared ecosystem and waterway it is essential to remember that the Salish Sea has been shared by Indigenous peoples since time immemorial. Losing sight of such long-established relationships in the development of scientific and public policies risks an erasure of Indigenous presence and sovereignty. My paper argues for a rethinking of the ways in which we discuss the Salish Sea's history and ecology with the general public. Public interpretation at parks and recreation sites is a front-line tool that policy makers can use to educate the public about the Salish Sea. While public interpretation may convey a message of ecological diversity, historic significance, or Indigenous presence, I argue that these public educational opportunities must be developed in relationship with Indigenous peoples in order to convey a message of Indigenous relationships and jurisdiction over the territories surrounding and within the Salish Sea. My approach is de-colonial and seeks to remind policy makers and the general public that the history of non-Indigenous presence within the Salish Sea ecosystem is one of colonization. Through an exploration of public interpretation at sites located in communities on Vancouver Island I provide tangible examples of how inattentive public interpretation can re-colonize and dismiss the Indigenous presence. I will also provide examples of what de-colonial public interpretation can look like with the hope that decision makers will be able to rethink public education about local sites located on and within the Salish Sea.

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May 2nd, 1:30 PM May 2nd, 3:00 PM

Rethinking Public Interpretation Around the Salish Sea

Room 602-603

In developing an understanding of the Salish Sea as a shared ecosystem and waterway it is essential to remember that the Salish Sea has been shared by Indigenous peoples since time immemorial. Losing sight of such long-established relationships in the development of scientific and public policies risks an erasure of Indigenous presence and sovereignty. My paper argues for a rethinking of the ways in which we discuss the Salish Sea's history and ecology with the general public. Public interpretation at parks and recreation sites is a front-line tool that policy makers can use to educate the public about the Salish Sea. While public interpretation may convey a message of ecological diversity, historic significance, or Indigenous presence, I argue that these public educational opportunities must be developed in relationship with Indigenous peoples in order to convey a message of Indigenous relationships and jurisdiction over the territories surrounding and within the Salish Sea. My approach is de-colonial and seeks to remind policy makers and the general public that the history of non-Indigenous presence within the Salish Sea ecosystem is one of colonization. Through an exploration of public interpretation at sites located in communities on Vancouver Island I provide tangible examples of how inattentive public interpretation can re-colonize and dismiss the Indigenous presence. I will also provide examples of what de-colonial public interpretation can look like with the hope that decision makers will be able to rethink public education about local sites located on and within the Salish Sea.