Sub-theme 10. Local institution building and radical futures for the commons
Collaborative Care in Commons Governance: Advancing Environmental Caretaking, Collaborative Management, and Sustainable Livelihoods
This panel endeavors to deepen the field of collaborative care and governance of lands and waters to inspire new strategies for collective action and “commoning.” We are particularly interested in expanding understandings of reciprocal relationships and how collective responsibilities are enacted in natural resource management. This includes governance rooted in meaningful participatory processes devolving decision making to those most affected or connected to a given resource and the physical and spiritual sustenance it provides. Through a collaborative care framework, we hope to create new terminology based not on hierarchy and separation, but on reciprocity and connection. In this way, we seek to move beyond dominant frameworks of collaborative management rooted in natural resource conflicts over extractive use, and instead deepen understanding of collaborative care for human-environment relations.
Building on the work of Indigenous scholars, we will discuss pathways for transmitting knowledge and responsibility across generations, along with stories of education for adaptation grounded in ancestral relationships between people and the places they inhabit. The panel will include examples of informal community practices, and formal policy-based avenues that facilitate resurgence and restoration of indigenous sovereignty. Along with locally centered and Indigenous governance efforts, we are interested in how communities engage in increasingly complex cross-border and polycentric efforts to influence the global and regional threats currently endangering local environments. Thus, contributions will suggest interventions that advance environmental justice, Indigenous land rights, and just transitions supporting sustainable livelihoods and regenerative economies at local and transnational scales.
Panel 10.9. A
1. Mapping Movements of Collaborative Care and Community Networks in Hawaiʻi with ʻĀINAVIS
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, USA
Over the past few decades, many community groups that take care of land and waters have emerged across Hawaiʻi, dedicating themselves to ecosystem restoration, cultural resurgence, and community wellbeing. In this presentation, we share about the community-based, collaborative project ʻĀINAVIS—a public index created to visualize the emergence and growth of these groups, enhancing our understanding of their efforts. Using public web research and qualitative interviews, this project aims to capture the trend, pattern, and unique cases to better understand the different factors that contribute to the successes or failures of this movement. Engagement with community partners is also integral to the project, as an opportunity to share back and cultivate a larger network among groups through dialogues. The project focuses on the ways in which groups form and participate in networks. Specifically, we look at how groups are mentored by community elders and local movements against development projects while passing down knowledge and experiences for new groups to build communities of care and momentum for the ongoing Indigenous resurgence. Connections between groups illustrate the importance of formal and informal relationships to nurture movements, and build commons and solidarity. Lastly, this project situates Hawaiʻi resurgence in global movements such as Landback, highlighting transnational relationships manifested in local community-based resource management efforts.
2. Co-Management and Restoring Relationality: Amah Mutsun Stewardship of Quiroste Valley Cultural Preserve
University of California, Berkeley, USA
As a non-federally recognized and landless Native American tribe, the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band (AMTB) have partnered with California State Parks at Quiroste Valley Cultural Preserve(QVCP) to fulfill their responsibility of stewarding ancestral landscapes. Since 2018, restoration efforts at QVCP have been carried out by the Native Stewardship Corps (NSC), a team of young-adult Amah Mutsun tribal members who steward land and culture. Despite the QVCP project facilitating the physical (re)connection of NSC members to an ancestral area, their mandated training by CA State Parks emphasizing colonial land management approaches contrasts starkly with AMTB cultural teachings grounded in relationality and care. Due to a lack of tribal cultural practices, tribal leadership made the decision to suspend the NSC program indefinitely in 2022. I seek to understand how State Parks and AMTB relationships to land and natural resources shape NSC experiences at QVCP. I ask: (1) To what extent do State co-management projects inhibit or promote Amah Mutsun caretaking obligations and relationality? (2) Can non-federally recognized tribes use co-management arrangements to bolster tribal resurgence and sovereignty? As an Amah Mutsun scholar and former NSC member, I use semi-structured interviews and archival methods to argue that despite QVCP programming being beholden to external obligations espousing hierarchical and colonial ontologies, Indigenous stewards create space in their everyday practices for relationality. As an expression of tribal sovereignty, stewardship grounded in cultural teachings are especially useful for non-federally recognized tribal nations.
3. Towards a Grammar of Conservancies: On Institutional Dissimilitude in the African Commons
Concordia University, Canada
Wildlife conservancies have emerged as important community-based institutions for wildlife conservation in Kenya in the past two decades. Broadly viewed as institutions with potential to bolster wildlife conservation by expanding conservation activities on private lands, wildlife conservancies have been tasked with what has often remained an unsolved puzzle of attaining biodiversity conservation and improving the quality of life of local communities. As wildlife conservancies continue to emerge around the country and the total geographical area they cover expands, so has the diversity of these conservation institutions increased. However, this feature of institutional diversity appears to have escaped the lenses of scholars and conservationists such that a ‘wildlife conservancy’ continues to be conceived as a simple and legible entity that operates in certain ways and for specific ends. This paper takes as its departure this seemingly elusive institutional gap to develop a critical analysis of wildlife conservancies as complex, dynamic, and diverse institutions and expand on the socio-political underpinnings of their establishment and evolution. Ultimately, I reflect on how wildlife conservancies could impact the future of biocultural diversity, African Indigenous livelihoods, and biodiversity conservation in Kenya in their functioning as commons informed by collective action inspired by what Cedric Robinson terms ‘African radical tradition’, and how neoliberal capitalist forces challenge ideas and processes of commoning in Kenya’s rangelands.
4. Responsibility as humans: meaning of traditional small grains cultivation in Japan
The University of British Columbia, Canada
Small grains are a group of ancient grains that has been cultivated in different parts of the world for thousands of years, have high nutritional value, are resistant to drought, play a key role in agricultural resilience and are adaptive to climate change. Of emerging concern globally, however, is that several varieties of small grains and related agricultural knowledge and practices are disappearing owing to the promotion and efficiency of industrial farming methods, agricultural intensification, and marked shifts in generational commitment to small grains cultivation and changing relationships with the land. This case study presents the findings of an in-depth ethnography of a farmer in Shiiba Village, Japan, who grows local varieties of small grains using traditional shifting cultivation methods. Explored in this study is the meaning of small grains cultivation and benefits and significance of this practice for a farmer and the implications for society and the environment. Four themes related to meaning emerged from this case study: a. small grains cultivation is a source of life across generations; b harmony between restoring the forest and coexisting with wild animals; c. collaboration and revitalization of the local community; d. a way of life. As a result of the meaning of the practice and his commitment to ensure the survival of small grains cultivation, a potential pathway is introduced involving collective responsibility and the contribution to the health of humans and the ecosystems.
5. Hālana ka manaʻo: place-based connection as a source of long-term resilience
1Department of Geography and Hui ‘Āina Momona, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, USA, 2Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, USA, 3Hawai’i Sea Grant College Program, USA, 4Department of Environmental Science and Management, Cal Poly Humboldt, USA, 5California Sea Grant, USA
In April of 2018, the island of Kauaʻi broke national 24-hour rainfall records, experiencing several days of intense rain and flooding that destroyed property, threatened lives, and reshaped the land. However, out of the turmoil came stories of survival, resilience, community, and strength. We interviewed over 80 individuals and found that concepts of resilience are intimately linked to place and community. This research explains how connections to place underpin and contribute to long-term, community-level resilience. We illustrate the significance of place-based knowledge in preparing for floods and mitigating flood damage, as well as the crucial role of community in emergency response and long-term disaster recovery. We found that community organizations facilitated the transmission of supplies and support, underscoring the connections to people and environment that foster resilient outcomes. Interviews also highlighted threats to place-based community resilience, such as tourism and prioritizing infrastructure over human needs. Reframing resilience to be more inclusive of social factors that attend to place-based dynamics can give more agency to community members and strengthen the connections that support recovery and adaptation amid increasing frequency of unpredictable and hazardous weather patterns.
Panel 10.9. B
1. Pathways to healing: Indigenous revitalization through family-based land management in the Klamath Basin
1Stanford University, USA, 2Karuk Tribe, USA
Indigenous revitalization includes community-led healing from intergenerational land-based trauma. Yet given colonial legacies that perpetuate the devaluation of Indigenous knowledge and dispossession of Indigenous lands, healing in Indigenous communities presents particular challenges. Such challenges can include responding to western models of bureaucratic governance that replicate historical trauma in governance relations. Building on existing frameworks of Indigenous political ecology, we consider the importance of resisting colonial legacies that can influence Indigenous environmental governance. We do so by discussing community-led revitalization and resurgence in the Karuk tribal community—an exemplar case of family-based management systems for caretaking ceremonial trails in the mid-Klamath (Northern California, US). Through this case, we consider the interdependent functions of family-based governance and tribal government institutions for collective decolonization and healing. Our analysis of family-based management provides insights into the sociopolitical and ecological dynamics of healing in diverse Indigenous communities, and explores more inclusive models for Indigenous environmental governance.
2. Advancing Indigenous futures with two-eyed seeing: Strategies for restoration and repair through collaborative research
1University of California, Berkeley, USA, 2Stanford University, USA, 3Karuk Tribe, USA
This presentation builds on the Indigenous research concept of two-eyed seeing, i.e. learning from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing, and from the other eye with the strengths of western knowledges and ways of knowing. We do so by drawing on the authors’ multiple standpoints (Carolyn Smith (Karuk), Sibyl Diver, and Ron Reed (Karuk)) and experiences building longstanding research collaborations that apply biophysical science, ethnographic methods, and Karuk oral traditions to tribal lands protection. Using Kovach’s (2009) conversational methodology, we discuss problems of health and well-being that arise from two-eyed seeing research collaborations affecting Indigenous lands, waters, and resources. We specifically examine interventions for advancing Indigenous leadership in research that intersect with the Karuk Tribe’s ecocultural revitalization initiatives through 1) stewardship of baskets alongside basketweaving communities (human and non-human); 2) family-based management of ceremonial trails, and 3) allyship for tribal-academic collaborations. Our analysis emphasizes how the aliveness of Karuk knowledge resists ahistorical essentialism, e.g., by engaging with the joy of human/non-human relations, ceremonial scale, and solidarity practices. Responding to ongoing challenges with knowledge hierarchies, this work recognizes the importance of mutual acknowledgement of persons across systems for advancing Indigenous research as a multi-vocal initiative with the capacity for restoration and repair.
3. Is It Working? Using Socio-Cultural Indicators To Monitor How Management Decisions Affect Those Using The Environment.
Natural Resources and Environmental Management, University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA
While biological and economic-based indicators provide environmental managers with metrics to track the effectiveness of their decisions, these metrics largely overlook how the specific stakeholders who use or are tied to managed areas are affected by management decisions. Furthermore, more extrinsic values, such as an individual’s sense of spiritual connection, mental health, and ancestral ties, fall outside the scope of traditional environmental monitoring methodology. This presentation will cover the development of a socio-cultural value approach to understand and monitor how communities in Hawaii that are tied to specific nearshore environments are being affected by new regulations, changes to the environment that result from those regulations, and how such effects evolve over time. This monitoring program shows how by engaging with core stakeholder groups, the State of Hawaii’s Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) can integrate a new set of indicators into their monitoring programs, and track how their decisions are directly impacting both the environment and those using that environment, in a way that biological and economic indicators struggle to integrate. This presentation will also include possible development pitfalls, the adoption of Social Media Marketing for DAR’s stakeholder engagement and monitoring rollout, preliminary monitoring results, and the future implications such monitoring holds for decision-makers and the communities who rely on the environment.
4. Indegenious Economic Commons and Radical Accountability
Grassroots Economics Foundation, Kenya
We started piloting approaches to economic commoning in Kenya in 2010. Since then, our techniques have branched out across the country and worldwide. Our focus has been primarily on the creation of Community-Inclusion-Currencies as an alternative to the current economic system that is failing to deliver equitable, ecological, and effective solutions.
In September 2022 we move beyond a vision of economic commons and into integral commoning that incorporates full asset and full cost accounting. In practice, this challenges us to incorporate several important common resources. This holistic approach to integral commoning, can be implemented in a modular form that can be replicated, expanded, or adapted to existing and new partner communities. Exemplary and key to this approach are communities in Kilifi Kenya where indigenous groups are striving to revive their indigenous value systems and identities in the face of capitalism. While this includes a strong emphasis on ecological preservation and wisdom, it also encompasses syntropic agro-forestry, land stewardship and education.
The indigenous form of social organization and integral commons in Kilifi is centered on the Kaya, which is a notion of an integral family homestead as a the basic political and economic unit of the society. The Kaya, however, is a scalable concept, like the notion of a village, which can equally apply to higher levels of organization. In other words, the Kaya is the atomic level in a fractal concept of cosmolocalism. This presentation will explore radical accountability connecting these ancient ideas to distributed ledgers to build holistic regional economies.
5. Gender Equity and Collaborative Care in Madagascar’s Locally Managed Marine Areas: Reflections on the Launch of a Fisherwomen’s Network
1Middlebury College, USA, 2INDRI, Madagascar, 3Maliasili, Madagascar
Collaborative care, or the collectively formed reciprocal relationships that emerge between the human and more-than-human world, is most robust when individuals from different socio-economic, gender, and political stratifications participate in decision-making regarding ocean conservation and fisheries governance practices. In many areas around the world, women are underrepresented in and overlooked by environmental management despite their deep involvement in marine fisheries and their labor dedicated to fisheries sustainability and marine conservation. Understanding the importance of gender to effective and efficient marine management highlights the need for governmental and non-governmental organizations to reconfigure both who leads in marine resource governance and how that leadership in understood. To investigate how gender affects community participation in locally based conservation, this paper explores management practices in Madagascar, focusing specifically on a program aiming to redress gendered inequalities in conservation and resource management decision-making and outcomes. We argue that in order to advance a more inclusive and thus effective approach to managing marine systems, conservation efforts should not just focus on managing the commons (a noun), but more deeply focus on commoning (a verb) — the process through which reciprocity, accountability, and collaborative care are developed within a community. Ultimately, we advocate that more resources, time and effort be granted to the development of whole-community engagement in governance, focused specifically on those most marginalized in current management regimes. Madagascar’s burgeoning network of fisherwomen leaders is an excellent example of one avenue through which these changes can occur.