Whitesell, E. A., F. W. Schroeder, and P. Hardison. 2007. Protecting Washington’s Marine Environments: Tribal Perspectives. Final report to the SeaDoc Society.
Type: Technical report or proceeding
Link: Not available. Please email us at seadoc -@- seadocsociety.org to request a copy of the paper.
This paper presents the findings of a collaborative project with the Tulalip Tribes Department of Natural Resources examining how tribal communities in western Washington view marine protected areas (MPAs). Using qualitative data, collected through unstructured interviews and reviews of published and unpublished literature, the study aims to improve the process of designing and managing MPAs to better serve both ecological objectives and Native American interests, by improving understanding of the socio-cultural systems that such protected areas depend upon for their long-term success. Tribal perspectives reported in the paper include the over-arching and nonnegotiable significance of treaty rights and co-management authorities; the importance of early and consistent tribal involvement in planning and implementation; the necessity of funding to insure meaningful tribal participation, especially for small tribal governments; the need for power-sharing governance structures; a desire for clear scientific justification of proposed MPAs and clear articulation of their objectives; integration of traditional environmental knowledge and tribal goals as established by the tribes rather than as assumed by others; conceptualization of tribes as part of marine ecosystems; use of MPAs as part of a broader plan to recover and protect marine habitats rather than a more limited focus on harvest pressure; and supplementing MPAs with a major environmental education program for the general public to address widespread degradation of the marine environment in the region. These findings are analyzed within a theoretical framework informed by critical historical geography and political ecology.