"The heartbeat of our people": How blueback sockeye salmon influences tribal well-being
Amberson, Sophia Elizabeth
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Natural resource management decisions are often made primarily based on economic or ecological data. While this can be an effective way to make some natural resources decisions, it is not the most holistic consideration of human health in social-ecological systems, especially in tribal contexts where communities are deeply interlinked with natural resources. A current trend, however, is to incorporate human well-being (HWB) as a desired outcome and indicator of success. Several guidelines and methods have been developed to facilitate this process with tribal communities, but their widespread applicability still needs to be tested. In this article, we present an analysis of how salmon enhances tribal well-being and a process for developing relevant indicators to existing frameworks that guide the development of indigenous HWB indicators related to natural resource management. Our analysis is based on 14 semi-structured interviews with Quinault tribal adults and 2 focus groups with tribal high school students. The interviews were focused on why each subject felt salmon was important to them and the community. Results showed that there are seven different domains in which the Quinault value salmon; economics, social, physical, cultural, governance, psychological, and spiritual. Each of these domains has attributes that provided a more specific context in measuring tribal well-being. Findings also demonstrated that the values associated with salmon are dynamic and interrelated with each other. Because a decline in salmon would impact tribal communities is multiple ways, several metrics should be created to measure how restoration influences the suite of factors influencing human well-being. The data provided by such measures are crucial to enhance our selection and monitoring of strategies intended to benefit social-ecological systems.
- Marine affairs