Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Perpetuating Traditional Knowledge

I got a question today about the ability to carry on traditional and cultural practices within the proposed Mariana Trench Marine National Monument. First of all, all regulations will be drafted with input from the local community, so if there is something that locals want, there is a pretty good chance locals will get it. Secondly, the answer to a lot of the questions I get are already available online and elsewhere. For example, since we are using the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument as a model, it is simple enough to check out their website for information. Their website reads:
The Proclamation, signed by President Bush on June 15, 2006, that designated the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as a Marine National Monument states that "a person may conduct an activity regulated by this proclamation if such activity is specifically authorized by a permit," and in section D of the findings, permissible activities include those that "support or advance the perpetuation of traditional knowledge and ancestral connections of Native Hawaiians to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands." [emphasis added]
*Notice that the proclamation does not define "traditional knowledge" or "ancestral connections," therefore they would be up for negotiation and interpretation.

This question usually comes up in regards to fishing.  Again, the people of the Marianas will determine how our monument will function, but we can look to Hawai'i and see that they made the decision to allow some permitted activities, such as certain types of fishing, to perpetuate their culture.

1 comment:

Rick MacPherson said...

as an fyi, traditional knowledge arguments are part of the standard operating procedure for wespac to use to "stir up dissent" around marine protected areas...

wespac has recently infiltrated the national marine educators association and the international pacific marine educators conference... my take is that they want to ensure that empirical evidence that MPA's work (both to protect resources AND create improved fish catch through spill-over effect) doesn't trump their ability to "scare" local communities that science/conservation is trying to "steal" indigenous/traditional rights...