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NNA Track 2: Atautchikkun Ilitchisukluta (Coming together to learn): Co-producing knowledge across the Northwest Passage


Project start
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Type of project
Project theme
Education & Outreach
Project topic
Education & Outreach

Project details

Science / project summary

Navigating the New Arctic (NNA) is one of NSF's 10 Big Ideas. NNA projects address convergence scientific challenges in the rapidly changing Arctic. The Arctic research is needed to inform the economy, security and resilience of the Nation, the larger region and the globe. NNA empowers new research partnerships from local to international scales, diversifies the next generation of Arctic researchers, and integrates the co-production of knowledge. This award fulfills part of that aim. Arctic ecosystems are transforming at rates that far exceed generations of living memory of Arctic Indigenous residents, resulting in local-to-global impacts. This innovative planning grant centers on collaborative science that incorporates Indigenous values, cultural practices, and frameworks to innovate new forms of scholarship to inform society's most pressing challenges. This project team and partners will develop collaborative learning processes that will center on Indigenous approaches in the sciences, advancing a key goal of the Navigating the New Arctic initiative - the "co-production of knowledge." This concept is reflected in the project's title, Atautchikkun Ilitchisukluta, from the Inupiaq language meaning "coming together to learn." This approach sets the stage for building responsible, ethical, and intentional relationships merging both Indigenous and western knowledge and science, co-conceiving how to most appropriately address the Arctic's most pressing questions and needs, and thus providing a roadmap towards the implementation of future convergence research. This framework is intended to serve as a blueprint for developing other Arctic research activities. This project draws upon and strengthens existing relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous university scientists, Indigenous Tribes and organizations, international collaborators, and communities in the Beaufort Sea regions of the U.S. and Canadian Arctic. The project team and partners will undertake an intentional and collaborative year-long planning process to design a multi-day learning event, likely to be hosted in Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska. Goals of this planning process and learning event are to: (1) Strengthen the relationships necessary for crossing boundaries to co-produce research questions and a project design, which address key changes facing Arctic communities and their coastal ecosystems; (2) Develop a shared mutually respectful process of knowledge co-production and co-create a central conceptual model that will form the centerpiece of a Navigating the New Arctic Track 1 proposal; (3) Provide space for mutual learning through the inclusion and mentorship of Indigenous youth as the next generation of scientists and community leaders. Participants in this project will link deep levels of expertise that span many boundaries, including: Indigenous and western knowledge systems; social, natural, and engineering sciences; U.S., Canadian, Inupiaq, Inuvialuit nations; elders and youth.