Science Meets Traditional Knowledge: Water and Climate in the Sahtu (Great Bear Lake) Region, Northwest Territories, Canada


  • Ming-Ko Woo
  • Paul Modeste
  • Lawrence Martz
  • Joe Blondin
  • Bob Kotchtubajda
  • Dolphus Tutcho
  • John Gyakum
  • Alphonse Takazo
  • Chris Spence
  • Johnny Tutcho
  • Peter di Cenzo
  • George Kenny
  • John Stone
  • Israel Neyelle
  • George Baptiste
  • Morris Modeste
  • Bruce Kenny
  • Walter Modeste



weather and climate, water resources, atmospheric science, hydrology, traditional knowledge, northern environment, Deline, Great Bear Lake


In July 2005, several scientists from the Mackenzie GEWEX (Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment) Study, known as MAGS, met with aboriginal people in Deline on the shore of Great Bear Lake to exchange information on climate and water in the region. Topics discussed pertained directly to the northern environment, and they included climate variability and change, wind, lightning, lake ice, lake level, and streamflow. The traditional knowledge shared by the residents is a rich source of local expertise about the landscape and climate systems of the Deline area, while the scientific knowledge provided by MAGS presents a scientific basis for many observed climate and water phenomena, particularly on a broad regional scale. Through cordial and open discussions, the meeting facilitated the sharing of traditional knowledge and scientific results. The meeting enhanced the potential for traditional knowledge to help direct and validate scientific investigations and for scientific knowledge to be used in conjunction with traditional knowledge to guide community decision making.