On the Meeting Place of Scientific Knowledge and Indigenous Ways of Knowing
This Week on the Emergence Magazine Podcast
Emergence Magazine is a quarterly online publication exploring the threads connecting ecology, culture, and spirituality. As we experience the desecration of our lands and waters, the extinguishing of species, and a loss of sacred connection to the Earth, we look to emerging stories. Each issue explores a theme through innovative digital media, as well as the written and spoken word. The Emergence Magazine podcast features exclusive interviews, narrated essays, stories, and more.
In this essay, conservation scientist Lauren Oakes listens to three generations of an Iñupiat family in Kotzebue, Alaska, discuss the transformations and losses in their community—located thirty miles north of the Arctic Circle—that have resulted from climate change and COVID-19. As she reflects on what will be needed to build resilience in the face of an uncertain future, Lauren considers the meeting place of scientific knowledge and Indigenous ways of knowing.
Lauren E. Oakes is a conservation scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth System Science at Stanford University, and a freelance writer. She is the author of In Search of the Canary Tree, one of Science Friday’s Best Science Books of 2018, the Second-Place Winner of the 2019 Rachel Carson Environment Book Award, and a finalist for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Communication Award. Lauren has contributed to The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Scientific American, Lit Hub, and Anthropocene Magazine.
Community partner Kaisa Reese Ahluniq Kotch splits her time between Kotzebue and Sitka, where she is a senior at Mt. Edgecumbe High School. She is an active member of the Kotzebue community, helping others cope with mental health challenges and trauma. She volunteers frequently, singing for Iñupiat elders. In 2016, she was selected as Miss Teen Arctic Circle, and in 2017, she was the recipient of the Spirit of the Youth Lifesaver Award for the state of Alaska. Her mother is Maija Katak Lukin.
Community partner and photographer Maija Katak Lukin is the former mayor of the city of Kotzebue. She was a land manager in Northwest Alaska before recently starting a new position in tribal relations. When not working for the federal government, Maija is with her family, often gathering subsistence foods and teaching her grandchildren about their culture.