Issue 5 | April 2018

Indigenous Food and Data Sovereignty Networks kicks off with workshop in Arizona

Attendees of the first Indigenous Food and Data Sovereignty Network workshop smile for a group photo at the head gates of an irrigation canal, constructed by the Gila River Indian Community. Photo credit: Skylar Anselmo, GRIC Department of Environmental Quality

When it comes to climate change, Indigenous communities are often underrepresented in scientific research and decision-making for climate adaptation. The newly-established Indigenous Food and Data Sovereignty Network aims to reverse that trend. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the project will explore adaptive and mitigation efforts of the Indigenous peoples residing in the both the US Southwest and the Arctic. These communities are reconciling the rapid social and environmental changes that affect food security. To kick off the project, Althea Walker of the Department of Environmental Quality at Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) hosted an initial meeting from March 1 to 2. This meeting served to acquaint network members to each other, as well as to define themes and directions for the developing network. Community members and researchers from all four directions participated in the two-day workshop.

The project allows communities to share their respective knowledge about their homelands and maintain ownership and control, or "sovereignty," of the shared information and data. Participating Indigenous communities in this network will organize and host future meetings and collaborations in order to establish connection and speak to their challenges and success in food and data sovereignty among their respective communities. Members of ELOKA—Colleen Strawhacker, Noor Johnson, and Peter Pulsifer—are helping to coordinate the network with partners at the University of Arizona, but the network and its themes will be Indigenous-led and driven.

Arctic Horizons final report published

Members of the Arctic Horizons Steering Committee pose for a photo following the final synthesis meeting held at Monticello, VA. Photo credit: Biljana Presnall

Over the past two years, the Arctic Horizons program brought together members of the Arctic social science and Indigenous communities to reassess the goals, potentials, and needs for the Arctic Social Sciences Program at the National Science Foundation within the context of a rapidly changing circumpolar North. This re-envisioning process will help shape future Arctic social science research and inform Arctic economic, environmental, and political policy development. Members of the ELOKA team participated in the process, with Noor Johnson contributing to the meeting at Brown University, Peter Pulsifer and Colleen Strawhacker providing a keynote on Arctic social science data and Indigenous Knowledge at the Cedar Falls meeting, and Strawhacker serving as a steering committee member while also assisting with the production of the final report.

The results of the workshops and online input have been published in a report that describes the community’s vision for the future of Arctic social science research. The report can be downloaded and accessed here:

ELOKA attends the University of the Arctic Icebreaker in Boulder, Colorado

As a member institution of the cooperative University of the Arctic (UArctic), the University of Colorado (CU) invited Arctic researchers and groups from the four CU campuses to meet at the inaugural CU and UArctic Collaborative Icebreaker on the Boulder campus on February 16. ELOKA was the sole CU organization in attendance to ensure that the developing network was considering Indigenous perspectives. Heidi McCann of ELOKA attended the meeting where she presented ELOKA, its online products, and discussed efforts toward data sovereignty for Indigenous communities in the region. With leading experts in circumpolar education and research, the University of the Arctic is a cooperative network of universities, colleges, research institutions, and other organizations that promote education and research in and about the North. The icebreaker was an opportunity to learn about CU’s new Arctic membership, to network across the four CU campuses with those engaged in the Arctic, and to share information about ELOKA data products, partnerships, and collaborations. To find out more about UArctic click here:

ELOKA invited to the first Awareness to Action planning workshop

Attendees of the Awareness to Action Workshop pose for a photo in Boulder, CO, with participants from Princeton University on the screen in the background. Photo credit: Unknown

Attending the first Awareness to Action planning workshop, ELOKA’s Heidi McCann was invited to represent our collaborative community-based research work across disciplines. The workshop was held at CU Boulder on February 21 to 23, and brought together experts in the natural and social sciences, arts, energy and water conservation, and related disciplines in order to establish operational strategies for knowledge sharing across collaborating entities, networks, and associations. Sponsored by the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) in collaboration with EcoArts Connections and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, this was the first of three workshops planned over the next few years, and was convened simultaneously in Boulder and at Princeton University, with discussion between the two locations.


Whaling captain Lewis Brower, an ELOKA collaborator, leads his crew out to sea for spring whaling in Utqiagvik, Alaska. Photo credit: Steve Kazlowski

ELOKA fosters collaboration between resident Arctic experts and visiting researchers to facilitate the collection, preservation, exchange, and use of local observations and Indigenous knowledge of the Arctic. ELOKA provides data management and user support to Indigenous communities to ensure their data and knowledge are managed, visualized, and shared in an ethical manner in order to work toward information and data sovereignty for Arctic residents.

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Last Updated: 
Tue, 04/03/2018