Introduction to Traditional Knowledge studies in support of geoscience tools for assessment of metal mining in Northern Canada

J. Galloway and R.T. Patterson

This report describes a three-year project (2015–2018) to improve understanding of past climate. It studies the way metal(loids) have responded to different climate conditions in the past. Lake sediments and peatlands are known as paleoecological archives. In other words, they contain fossils that help understand the past ecology of plants and animals in the area. The study looked at historical climate conditions shown by the chemistry and fossil content of these sediments and peatlands. It also examined Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (traditional knowledge). This may result in more accurate predictions of how metal(loids) respond to current and forecasted climate change.

The Yellowknife and Courageous Lake areas of the mineral-rich Slave Geological Province have gold mining histories. These areas were studied to see how metal(loids) mobilized by past mining activity may move through the environment. The project partners—the North Slave Métis Alliance, the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, the Tłįchǫ Research and Training Institute, and Hadlari Consulting Ltd.—conducted Traditional Knowledge and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit studies. Information from these studies will be used together with data collected by western scientific techniques. This will provide a better understanding of the transport and fate of metal(loids) under a changing climate.

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