Species at Risk Committee to reflect Indigenous, community knowledge

The NWT Species at Risk Committee (SARC) says its assessments about the territory’s species will now better reflect Indigenous and community knowledge alongside scientific knowledge.

In a news release, the committee said its species assessment process – which determines the status of species at risk in the territory – needed to be “rethought and rebuilt in a manner that recognizes the local, holistic, eco-centric and social-spiritual context of Indigenous knowledges.”

“Around the world, accepted standards for species at risk assessments are based strongly in western science,” Leon Andrew, the chair of SARC, is quoted as saying.


“There is increasing acceptance that Indigenous and community knowledges are systems of knowing in their own right that do not need to fit within a model of, or be verified by, western science.”

SARC says its new approach will consider both fields “equally and respectfully” when making decisions.

The first example of SARC’s new assessment process will be demonstrated in April, when the committee reassesses the status of the polar bear.