Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

"They don't know how we live": Understanding collaborative management in western Alaska
by Bartley, Kevin Andrew, M.A., University of Alaska Anchorage, 2014, 444; 1563546
Abstract (Summary)

This research focused on three primary objectives: 1) identify barriers and facilitators to subsistence harvesters' meaningful participation in collaborative management of fish and wildlife in Western Alaska, 2) define subsistence harvesters' perceptions of a meaningful role in management, and 3) understand why subsistence harvesters' participation at collaborative management meetings has declined as indicated by a decline in applications to serve on regional advisory councils. I conducted semi-structured interviews with seventeen subsistence harvesters and three agency managers in Western Alaska. I also analyzed two public record transcripts of the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta Regional Advisory Council. Results indicate that subsistence harvesters in Western Alaska defined their meaningful role as the ability to work together and participate equally in management planning and regulatory decision making on management of fish and wildlife. Challenges to communication between subsistence harvesters and agency managers include language differences, use of technical jargon by managers at meetings, lack of flow of information between stakeholders, and the value stakeholders assign to one and others' knowledge. Interaction between stakeholders remains infrequent contributing to the lack of cultural awareness and understanding between stakeholders. Furthermore, factors which influence the timing of stakeholder engagement and where and how collaborative management occurs have affected subsistence harvesters' meaningful participation.

Subsistence harvesters' participation and applications for membership on the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta Regional Advisory Council are declining at least in part due to subsistence harvesters' perceptions that their participation is meaningless and their role does not allow for their equal participation in decision making on fish and wildlife management related issues. Secondly, the lack of informal and formal meetings between stakeholders in Western Alaskan communities has resulted in subsistence harvesters' lack of exposure to the Federal Subsistence Management Program. To better understand subsistence harvesters' meaningful participation, I recommend that managers focus on how and why the differences between stakeholders' cultures, worldviews on land and animals, approaches to management, and perceptions of a meaningful role are interrelated to and influence the observable outcomes of collaborative management in Western Alaska.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Langdon, Stephen J.
Commitee: Boraas, Alan S., Brooks, Jeffrey J., Knott, Catherine H.
School: University of Alaska Anchorage
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Alaska
Source: MAI 53/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Social research, Public policy
Keywords: Alaska, Collaboration, Meaningful participation, Public participation, Subsistence management, Yup'ik subsistence users
Publication Number: 1563546
ISBN: 978-1-321-13043-0
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