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The Gitxaala Nation has been partnering with Charles Menzies, academic collaborator with CICADA and Gitxaalan scholar, to define respectful researcher-community research relationships and outline the role of consultation, accommodation, and negotiation in these endeavors.

“Gitxaała society is shaped by social relations between people, non-human people, and place. To be a person in Gitxaała society is to know one’s history, to whom one is related, and from where one comes. This sense of place and belonging is rooted in a living oral knowledge. Our oral knowledge—history, songs, traditions, ecology, practices—has grown here through the active intersection of an Indigenous people within and against the ebbs and flows of our natural and social landscapes.”

Dm sibilhaa’nm da laxyuubm Gitxaała: Picking Abalone in Gitxaała Territory (2010)Charles Menzies


Charles Menzies, UBC and Gitxaala Nation.
Charles Menzies, UBC and Gitxaala Nation.
Lach Klan School Students on a Canoe Trip. Source: Gitxaala Nation.
Lach Klan School Students on a Canoe Trip. Source: Gitxaala Nation.

“…A reintroduction of ecologically appropriate traditional fishing gear is one path toward truly sustainable fisheries. We emphasize how these technologies are associated with particular forms of resource management that limit and disperse harvest pressure. This is accomplished by documenting the linkage between traditional fishing gear, local ecological knowledge, and contemporary conservation potentials. In developing this argument, we draw upon research conducted in collaboration with fishers and elders from the Gitxaała First Nation and in particular their concept of syt güülm goot: “being of one heart.” This concept underpins Gitxaała approaches to resources and how they should be used and shared. It is premised upon a community-based conception of resource use in which people and nonhumans share important reciprocal relationships of trust, respect, and—when things go wrong—retribution.”


Gathering Strength from Charles Menzies on Vimeo.

Bax Laansk: Pulling Together from Charles Menzies on Vimeo.


Centre for Indigenous Conservation and Development Alternatives