Topic - Adaptive Management

2010 Confluence of Values The Role of Science and Native Americans in the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program

Grand Canyon and the Colorado River are important places on the landscape for many Native American Tribes. The Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program (GCDAMP) is designed to employ science as a means for gathering, analyzing, and disseminating information on the condition of resources. A Western science perspective dominates this program with recognition of Native American traditional perspectives as a valued component. Analogous to a confluence of rivers, Native American traditional perspec-tives were initially envisioned as enhancing the Western science approach by creating a more holistic understanding of this valued ecosystem; however, this integration has not been realized. Identified barriers to effective participation by Native American stakeholders are vast cultural differences that express themselves in complex sociocultural scenarios such as conflict resolution discourse and a lack of insight on how to incorporate Native American values into the program. Also explored is the use of “science” as a sociopolitical tool to validate authoritative roles that have had the unintended effect of further disenfranchising Native Americans through the promotion of colonialist attitudes. Solutions to these barriers are offered to advance a more effective and inclusive participation of Native American stakeholders in this program. Finally, drawing from the social sciences, a reflexive approach to the entire GCDAMP is advocated.

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