The significance of context in community-based research: understanding discussions about wildfire in Huslia, Alaska
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Henry P. Huntington; Sarah F. Trainor; David C. Natcher; Orville H. Huntington; La'ona DeWilde; F. Stuart Chapin III
Publication Year: 2006

Cataloging Information

  • aborigines
  • cross-cultural communication
  • education
  • fire management
  • indigenous knowledge
  • public information
  • wildfire
  • wildfires
  • workshops
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: August 27, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 48115
Tall Timbers Record Number: 24183
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Community workshops are widely used tools for collaborative research on social-ecological resilience in indigenous communities. Although results have been reported in many publications, few have reflected explicitly on the workshop itself, and specifically on understanding what is said during a workshop. Drawing on experience from workshops held in Huslia, Alaska in 2004 on wildfire and climate change, we discuss the importance of considering cultural, political, and epistemological context when analyzing statements made by indigenous people in community workshops. We provide examples of statements whose meaning and intent were, and may remain, unclear, with descriptions of our attempts to understand what was being said by placing the statements in a variety of contexts. We conclude that, although workshops can be an efficient means of exchanging information, researchers should strive for multiple channels of communication and should be cautious in their interpretations of what is said. © 2006 by the authors. Published here under license by the Resilience Alliance.

Online Link(s):
Huntington, H. P., S. F. Trainor, D. C. Natcher, O. H. Huntington, L. DeWilde, and F. S. Chapin. 2006. The significance of context in community-based research: understanding discussions about wildfire in Huslia, Alaska. Ecology and Society, v. 11, no. 1, p. U854-U865.