Presentation Abstract

In Northwestern North America, as elsewhere in the world, First Peoples’ stories reflect the gifts of Nature to humans – what we now call “cultural ecosystem services” – and the ways in which places and species are imbued with cultural meaning. All around the Salish Sea, such stories, told in the range of Indigenous languages and dialects spoken across the area, have been passed from generation to generation since time immemorial: How the Salmon People came and taught the Saanich People how to fashion their reefnets of willow bark; How Xáls, the Creator, turned people who had transgressed cultural laws into rocks, still to be seen at certain places; the site where the two sisters who married Stars came back to earth, using a long cedarbark rope they had fashion; where the people anchored their canoes and took refuge during the Great Flood. When the first Europeans arrived in this region, they and those who followed looked at the lands and waters through different eyes, and the cultural services provided to them were different. Even today, over 150 years later, there is a general disconnect in the intangible values attributed to the lands and waters of the Salish Sea between First Peoples and newcomers. How can these differing understandings of the meaning of this place for different groups of people be recognized, and accommodated in planning and decision-making for the future? Whose values should take priority in such assessments? In this presentation I consider these questions and propose a number of principles that might help guide and reconcile disparate perceptions of nature’s cultural values.

Session Title

Session S-09H: Trading Cultural Ecosystem Services from Data Collection to Decision Making

Conference Track

Social Science Plus

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2014 : Seattle, Wash.)

Document Type

Event

Start Date

2-5-2014 10:30 AM

End Date

2-5-2014 12:00 PM

Location

Room 607

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

Text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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May 2nd, 10:30 AM May 2nd, 12:00 PM

"An uncultivated waste”: Balancing Cultural Ecosystem Services and Differing Values in the Salish Sea Region

Room 607

In Northwestern North America, as elsewhere in the world, First Peoples’ stories reflect the gifts of Nature to humans – what we now call “cultural ecosystem services” – and the ways in which places and species are imbued with cultural meaning. All around the Salish Sea, such stories, told in the range of Indigenous languages and dialects spoken across the area, have been passed from generation to generation since time immemorial: How the Salmon People came and taught the Saanich People how to fashion their reefnets of willow bark; How Xáls, the Creator, turned people who had transgressed cultural laws into rocks, still to be seen at certain places; the site where the two sisters who married Stars came back to earth, using a long cedarbark rope they had fashion; where the people anchored their canoes and took refuge during the Great Flood. When the first Europeans arrived in this region, they and those who followed looked at the lands and waters through different eyes, and the cultural services provided to them were different. Even today, over 150 years later, there is a general disconnect in the intangible values attributed to the lands and waters of the Salish Sea between First Peoples and newcomers. How can these differing understandings of the meaning of this place for different groups of people be recognized, and accommodated in planning and decision-making for the future? Whose values should take priority in such assessments? In this presentation I consider these questions and propose a number of principles that might help guide and reconcile disparate perceptions of nature’s cultural values.