Anne and Kii’iljuus Barb recently returned from a quick zoom down to Oregon to give the opening talk at the 10th annual Elakha Alliance Sea Otter Status of Knowledge Symposium. The purpose of this symposium was to share information, research, and lessons learned about the recovery of sea otters in regions all up and down the Pacific coast. Speakers included scientists, Indigenous knowledge holders, managers, and graduate students - all sharing their expertise and discussing the interactions and complexities linked to the re-introduction and recovery of sea otter populations.
The whole presentation was recorded and you can watch Anne and Kii’iljuus give their talk at this YouTube link. You can also watch ALL the video presentations from the Symposium here.
Kii’iljuus opened the event by acknowledging the land they were gathered on. This is a common protocol in BC to recognize the many unceded First Nations lands we gather on - but this is not a very common protocol in Oregon and other places in the USA. She continued to introduce the Coastal Voices project, expressing a deep gratitude for all the knowledge that has been contributed by project partners, participants, and the steering committee. The presentation showed this wonderful quote to express some of that knowledge and the value of understanding the long and complex human-otter relationships that have existed for millennia.
Anne continued after Kii’iljuus, and they both alternated telling the stories about deep time and recent history, sea otters direct and indirect ecosystem effects, and the relationship between Indigenous people and sea otters in the past, present, and looking forward. The audience was very grateful for this diversity of perspectives and asked lots of great questions during and after the presentation was over. Overall, it was a great opportunity to share the Coastal Voices work.