114: Collaboration starts with Coffee, with Tony Sutton

In this episode, Michael speaks with Tony Sutton, Assistant professor of Native American Food Systems at the University of Maine. Michael and Tony talk about the role of academics and researchers working with local communities and Tony’s research with the Wabanaki people who he works with as an equal partner. Tony also discusses how he views the distinction between scientific and indigenous knowledge as artificial and unhelpful. Finally, they discuss a project that Tony is involved in called the Maine Shellfish Learning Network (https://themudflat.org/). This network seeks to build relationships and communication around issues facing clam and mussel harvesters in Maine. One particularly pressing issue that Tony discusses with Michael is the loss of access such harvesters are facing as a result of displacement by incoming homeowners who purchase houses on the coast of Maine, as well as through Maine state policy that privileges sedentarism, requiring residence in a town as a criterion for fishery access, which marginalizes the Wabanaki and other people whose lifeways involve moving through a landscape to adapt to changes in resource availability.