Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Environmental Decision-making

October 31, 2018 12:00 pm — 1:30 pm
Webinar only

Cosponsored by the National Native American Bar Association
and the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources

ELI Member Webinar

Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), also known as indigenous knowledge (IK), is defined as a deep understanding of the environment developed by local communities and indigenous peoples over countless generations. In the United States, Canada, and around the world, indigenous peoples are increasingly advocating for the incorporation of TEK into a range of environmental decision-making contexts, including natural resource and wildlife management, pollution standards, environmental and social planning, environmental impact assessment, and adaptation to climate change.

Our expert panel explored the extent to which TEK is used in distinct environmental decision-making processes, and to which courts have or may uphold legal decisions based, wholly or in part, on indigenous peoples’ understanding of the environment. Our panel discussed the challenges indigenous peoples face in defending the legitimacy of, and intellectual property in, TEK; examined how policy-makers can modify existing laws and regulations to better incorporate TEK; and debated TEK’s potential in meeting today’s most pressing environmental challenges.

Greta Swanson, Visiting Attorney, Environmental Law Institute and Pro Bono Attorney, Chesapeake Legal Alliance (Moderator)
Minnie Degawan, Director of Indigenous and Traditional Peoples Program, Conservation International
Kathy Hodgson-Smith, Attorney, and TEK Member, Commission for Environmental Cooperation
Anthony Moffa, Visiting Associate Professor, University of Maine School Of Law, formerly Staff Attorney with the General Counsel’s office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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