Iakotisa'tstentsera:wis Ne Ohontsia: Reducing Risk by Restoring Relationships

EPA Grant Number: R831044
Title: Iakotisa'tstentsera:wis Ne Ohontsia: Reducing Risk by Restoring Relationships
Investigators: Arquette, Mary , Sargent, Elvera , Ransom, James
Current Investigators: Arquette, Mary , Thompson, Darrell , Arquette, David , Sargent, Elvera , King, Joyce
Institution: Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment Inc. , Akwesasne Freedom School , Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force
Current Institution: Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment Inc. , Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: April 1, 2004 through March 31, 2007
Project Amount: $450,000
RFA: Lifestyle and Cultural Practices of Tribal Populations and Risks from Toxic Substances in the Environment (2002) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Justice , Climate Change , Tribal Environmental Health Research , Human Health , Safer Chemicals


This project will develop and implement a research program to examine the impacts that toxic substances have had on the traditional cultural practices of Haudenosaunee Nations. This project will provide training to teachers, youth and Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force staff who are dealing with a variety of toxic substances impacting their health, lands and future. Community-based, participatory research methodologies will be used to develop culturally-appropriate intervention materials and design educational strategies based on oral tradition. The project will: 1) empower and strengthen the capacity of Haudenosaunee scientists, environmental staff and educators; 2) build upon existing partnerships in order to share expertise and experiences; and 3) provide hands-on training about the relationship between toxic substances and traditional cultural practices. Secondary objectives include: 4) identifying culturally appropriate strategies that effectively communicate environmental health issues to Haudenosaunee, including youth; and 5) identifying strategies that effectively evaluate the success of the project.


This project will holistically define impacts and identify/implement ways to support, protect and restore traditional cultural and subsistence practices that have been negatively impacted. The project will use GIS maps to discuss risk associated with use of specific contaminated areas; combine traditional environmental knowledge with western scientific knowledge and innovative computer programming; and use field work and hands-on, total participatory response techniques (TPR) to engage youth, scientists and teachers.

Expected Results:

The expected outcome will be trained community members who have identified strategies to reduce risk associated with exposure to toxic substances at the same time that health is protected and traditional cultural practices are supported/restored. This project will: 1) educate and involve teachers and youth in discussions of environmental health and risk; 2) promote the more effective use of existing information; 3) expand the number of trained Native personnel who understand risk issues; 4) support traditional cultural practices; and 5) identify ways to decrease exposure to toxic substances.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 8 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

traditional ecological knowledge, aboriginal, American Indian, native, Mohawk, superfund., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, Waste, Health Risk Assessment, Risk Assessments, Hazardous Waste, Ecology and Ecosystems, Hazardous, outreach material, contaminant transport, contaminant dynamics, human exposure, native americans, technology transfer, human health risk, technical outreach, web development, community support

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2004 Progress Report
  • 2005 Progress Report
  • Final Report