Water: A First Nations' Spiritual and Ecological Perspective.
Keywords:First Nations, water, Michael Blackstock
AbstractWater quality and availability is an urgent global concern. This paper documents, through the use of ethnographic research methods, First Nations� concerns and perspectives about water. The paper�s scope is primarily limited to the views of three Elders from the southern Interior of British Columbia: Mary Thomas from the Secwepemc, Millie Michell from the Nlaka�pamux, and Mary Louie from the Syilx Nation. Secondary literature sources complement the Elders� sharing of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). The Elders� emphasis on the spiritual impor-tance of water is contrasted with Western science�s emphasis on water�s unique physical and chemical properties. This fundamental difference raises questions about Western science�s approach to freshwater ecosystem management and study. Ultimately, this paper documents the wisdom of highly respected Elders about water in relation to the culture and freshwater ecosystems of South-Central British Columbia.
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