Land Acknowledgments

Recent talks I have attended mentioned indigenous histories at their research sites. This is a positive form of provenance not just of the site or place but of the sense of its ecology. Nonetheless, it has been proposed that talk is cheap. There at least five major implications of this premise.

  1. Acknowledge but propose a solution for those lands to better recognize the diversity of peoples associated with its present and past.
  2. Similar to prepping a data management plan, prepare a land and research provenance management plan that includes sharing and communicating results to current and past stakeholders within the region.
  3. Provide the audience or readers with an opportunity to contribute to this recognition process. This can include mechanisms such as an NPO or charity to support associated with the land use culture and peoples, a mailing address or contact details for more information, a link to additional resources or the site for deeper reflection, and finally lead by example and mention how your research process incorporated provenance.
  4. Revisit the culture, history, and ecology at the end of the talk by reconnecting with its peoples. In many of the systems we work in as a team in Central California, Ephedra californica is a foundation plant species. This plant has a long history of use and management by many. Mention this as a key connector to the ecology that we now study. These ephedra parklands reflect many processes of change including active management.
  5. The written word is powerful. In the standard ‘study site’ description included in the Methods section of field ecology papers, consider a statement describing and citing work on the indigenous people and culture that supported your study site.