- Post Congress Media and Proceedings
- About the Congress
- About Tofino
- Field Trips, Arts & Culture
- Pre-Congress Workshops & ISE Special Sessions
- Presenters & Exhibitors
- Travel Information
- For Local Residents
- Contact Us
Themes & Objectives
The overarching theme of the 12th International Congress of Ethnobiology was Hishuk-ish tsa’walk, a Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations phrase that embodies the concept of "everything is one," the understanding that everything is connected and nothing is isolated from other aspects of life surrounding it and within it.
The sub-themes were: 1) Conserved and protected areas and people
There are a range of structures and institutions used to conserve and protect lands, resources, and human uses of lands and resources such as: Indigenous community conserved areas, tribal parks, biosphere reserves, marine protected areas, national and regional parks. These are all cross-cultural interfaces with varying degrees of ‘allowable’ cultural use of land and resources. Each holds the potential for both conflict and innovative co-management of land and natural resources. What is the role of ethnobiology within such areas? What are the advantages and disadvantages of different structures and institutional arrangements? Theoretical and practical contributions on this sub-theme were welcomed, whether at the conceptual stage or grounded in concrete experiences.
2) Cultural transmission of knowledge in protecting and restoring biocultural diversity
Under this theme, we explored the cultural transmission of knowledge through language and education. Contributions should focus on the roles of language, education and language revitalization in preserving, maintaining and restoring biocultural diversity. For example: • In many cultures, past church and state education policies have disrupted cultural transmission of knowledge, but what is today’s role of education? What practices and policies are required to ensure culturally-appropriate education? • What are the lessons from language revitalization, and how can these be enshrined in policy to protect biocultural diversity? Practical contributions on this theme are encouraged. A diversity of formats and media (e.g., audio, video, storytelling, performance art) was used to foster cross-cultural sharing and communication among Congress participants.
3) Traditional foods and food sovereignty
Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems . Food sovereignty puts those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than being subject to the demands of markets and corporations. It includes and defends the interests of the next generation. Food sovereignty issues are of great importance and interest to Nuu-chah-nulth people and local communities, and under this sub-theme we explored the relationship between ethnobiology and food sovereignty and learned about the world-wide experiences of ethnobiologists, practitioners, indigenous and traditional peoples who are helping to define, protect and put into practice these rights and associated responsibilities.
4) Other topics
Contributions that do not fall within one of the three sub-themes were also welcomed. Congress organizers particularly encouraged submissions on: (1) Putting ideas into practice and using practices to inform research, policy, education and action for the stewardship of biological and cultural diversity and ecosystem health. (2) Adaptive capacity and using cultural knowledge to adapt to local, regional and global changes
 Declaration of Nyéléni (text), Nyéléni 2007 - Forum for Food Sovereignty. Accessed online at http://www.world-governance.org/IMG/pdf_0072_Declaration_of_Nyeleni_-_ENG.pdf on 20 April 2009.