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At best, it is seen as traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), with a role to supplement and support scientific knowledge in the area of climate change and animal life, for example, or to serve in Inuit adaptation to biophysical changes that affect activities like hunting.
I am not a fan of this term, as too often traditional is understood as something at the margins of our modern times.
More importantly, in research it has been related to ensuring community cultural continuity, rather than providing valid scientific evidence.
This is unlikely to happen as long as research assumptions about what counts as valid knowledge and scientific evidence remain unchanged ― the credibility gap will also remain in place, informing key issues like capacity-building.
For some, Inuit knowledge is traditional knowledge.
methodology and ethics), how results are circulated, and, most importantly, how research is funded, all being interrelated areas in research governance.
We cannot separate these areas from one another, from policy-making, and from the wider social-cultural and political-economic context in the Arctic, since they further replicate colonial relations between Inuit and Canada.This essay was originally published by Northern Public Affairs, an independent, volunteer-run, not-for-profit organization dedicated to mobilizing diverse voices from across the North to analyze and comment on pressing public concerns.Setting the context: The credibility gap and research governance I joined academia out of the conviction that, by understanding the systems that control our lives as Inuit, I would be able to envision some of the solutions that might change such systems to better suit our realities.Research principles have also transitioned from research on Inuit to research with Inuit.However, we have yet to see a turn to research by Inuit for Inuit.The question of knowledge and capacity-building: Policy and funding implications Knowledge is a powerful agent in research.Research methodology should refer not only to the methods applied to carry out a research project, but also to the research assumptions that govern research.I reflect here on some of the tensions and struggles I have experienced when thinking about and conducting Arctic research, as an Inuk raised in Nunavut and as a scholar trained in Western traditions.These tensions are fundamentally rooted in having to deal with what I call the credibility gap between Western knowledge and Inuit knowledge.How we consider knowledge and what is worth relying on as scientific evidence are critical here.Within Arctic research that involves Inuit, positive changes in research methodology have resulted in shifts away from ethnographic description towards community-based research.