By Alex Flynn, with Rui Lui, Max Liboiron, Kaitlyn Hawkins, and Molly Lahn Rivers


Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush) are a freshwater fish native to Labrador. Due to the risk of local extinction from climate change and environmental damage, information about them is critical for conversation efforts. However, local and Indigenous knowledge in this regard, and in most other areas, is often ignored, invalidated or appropriated by dominant academic knowledge infrastructures. Drawing from my lived experience with Lake Trout as a member of NunatuKavut who grew up in southern Labrador and a student at a colonial university, I discuss how citation practices are used to influence the political ecology of knowledge infrastructures. Citation is used to authenticate knowledge and dictate which forms of knowledge can influence environmental change. The power imbalance where dominant colonial knowledge takes precedence over cultural, traditional or place-based epistemologies results in settler colonial and capitalist research methodologies being propagated in academia. This can negatively effect conservation effects because research practices will not adapt to or reflect the place specific contexts. Local and Indigenous ways of knowing are rooted in specific places, so respect and consensual dissemination of this knowledge is necessary for environmental care.

Labrador is in most eastern part of Canada, in the most northern section of that part of the mainland. It is subarctic.
Labrador, the northern portion of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, is highlighted in red.

Lake trout and me

I grew up in the rural community of Forteau on the south coast of Labrador, Canada. Every winter and spring when the lakes froze over, about once a week, my father and I would go ice fishing for trout. We’d spend hours jigging through holes we drilled into the ice with wooden rods that my grandfather had made. When I was little, I would lay down on the ice and look down the hole. When the pond was shallow enough, I could see sticklebacks picking at the bait (a worm or a fin) on the end of a hook, hoping I’d see a trout grab it. If we were successful, a trout or two would be fried for dinner when we got home, and the rest would be given to my grandparents who lived next door to us. It was experiences like these growing up in Labrador that connected me to, and got me fascinated with, ecology and natural science.

Years later, I would find myself in a wildlife genetics lab at Memorial University of Newfoundland. I chose to do (and am still currently working on) my Master’s Thesis on lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) in Labrador because of my personal relation to the fish. Lake trout are a native species that have been part of the ecosystem for thousands of years (McCracken et al., 2013: 1904). Theyare a cold-water fish found throughout northern North America. They are fished within communities commercially and recreationally all year round, in nets during summer and through ice during winter (Hancock, 2021; Flynn, 2021). Over the years, the number of fish lodges have increased due to new technologies, such as snow machines and all-terrain vehicles, that provide easier access to inland lakes (Hancock, 2021). Trout are also important in Indigenous communities as a food source, being one of the most commonly eaten fish among the southern communities in NunatuKavut such as Forteau, L’anse au Loup, L’anse au Clair, and Red Bay (Oberndorfer et al., 2017: 462; Flynn, 2021; Sarkar et al., 2019: 941).

Of the many northern freshwater fish species that inhabit Newfoundland and Labrador, lake trout are thought to be the most vulnerable to climate change (Olusanya et al., 2018). This makes research on this species critical for conservation and sustainability efforts. However, there is a lack of available published information on lake trout regarding Labrador populations and their cultural or place-based significance. I know lake trout are important for sustenance in my home community and other communities in Labrador, which seemed like a significant factor for research and discussion on species conservation. Yet, I could not corroborate this information, or much other local knowledge, from my usual academic knowledge resources. Government websites give you the bare bones of the species info (scientific name, geographic range, physical characteristics, etc.), though you might be able to find some fisheries statistics if you can navigate the abyss of hyperlinks. The few peer-reviewed articles that are out there, while informative and valuable, are outside of a traditional or cultural scope and often stress the need for more research (McCracken et al., 2013: 1913; Wilson, and Hebert, 1996: 2773; Olusanya et al., 2018). Some Traditional Land use studies included minor discussions on trout but dedicated studies, done by DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada) and the Government of Canada, are primarily from a Settler/Colonial view (Russell Jr, 2021).

Image of Lake Trout. From the Commons.

I was confused by the lack of information publicly available when there was so much local knowledge that I had learned about lake trout when I was a child–for example, the best spots on a frozen lake to catch them, how the colour of their underbelly could indicate taste, their importance to family and community, how they were often given to elders as gifts, and how often they’re cooked for family meals. What I consider important knowledge about lake trout was seemingly not worth a confirmation, a rebuttal, or even a mention in academia and other ‘reputable’, publicly available sources (Mott and Cockayne, 2017: 959). Where, in these official sources of knowledge, was everything that I had heard, seen, lived, and knew? I questioned the relevance and value of my own knowledge and experiences.

The knowledge infrastructure – the tools, platforms, networks and other socio-technical mechanisms that allow knowledge to be cultivated and circulated (Okune et al., 2019: 2) — used by academia is supposedly the most vast, accessible and resourceful that exists. It’s made up of new technological platforms and tools to facilitate sharing and reuse of digital information, with the assumption that once these virtual infrastructures are in place researchers and other collaborators will be able to participate in the creation of scientific knowledge in more equitable and efficient ways (Okune et al., 2019: 2). However, despite the existence of the Internet in my home community and many other communities in Labrador, much knowledge from these places does not make it into the virtual infrastructures that are used in science and academia. Current socio-ecological problems like global climate change and resource depletion have never been more important (Roberts, 2020) and academic research calls for the need of more knowledge. Why was the knowledge I grew up with, what seemed to me like common knowledge, not recognized?   

My research dilemma

The political ecology of lake trout in Labrador is tied up in knowledge infrastructures. In her methodological work, Katherine McKittrick reminds us that, “One important key to think about is, of course, geography: colonial and positivist geographies necessitate authentication, and authentication authenticates belonging on colonial and positivist terms. Knowledge systems that value transparency authenticate these geographies” (McKittrick, 2021: 34-35). One way to think of the political ecology of knowledge infrastructures here is through citations and references (Mott and Cockayne, 2017; Whyte and Hunt, 2018; Okune et al., 2019). Citations and references to the source from where information is acquired is needed for knowledge validation in science and academia. This helps prevent the proliferation of misinformation and lies, a major problem especially within virtual infrastructures. When you share information and/or conduct research, for your knowledge to be considered worthy of acceptance, authentic, in the eyes of academic and scientific spaces you must cite sources that are already deemed worthy.

Set of fish illustrations found in “Fishes of North America,” a natural history text, including Lake Trout (lower right corner). Public Domain.

“Reputable sources” are generally considered to be peer-reviewed academic papers, scholarly novels or textbooks, or government-funded studies. These sources are already part of academic infrastructure (Okune et al., 2019). They follow the strict guidelines and methods that are deemed necessary in dominant western science for reproducibility and bias elimination. Knowledge that does not, or cannot, conform to these rules set by academia does not meet the standard (at least not fully) for acceptance, and is considered illegitimate. Further, citing credible sources is important in academia because a “citation unknown, out of place, from the ‘wrong’ source, or absent altogether might imply that an author does not have the right credentials and has not passed an implicit test of adequate scholarship” (Mott and Cockayne, 2017: 965). However, sometimes the knowledge you know and wish to cite is unavailable within the “authentic” knowledge infrastructure.

In my thesis, I wanted to explain that lake trout are not just simply a freshwater fish species, but also a part of Labrador, its history, its culture, its people, and its ecology, but I was restricted based on what academia deems a credible source. In Sick Building Syndrome and the Problem of Uncertainty, Murphy details the history of how sick buildings were formed by different, often conflicting, knowledges and histories that remade and sometimes undid the epistemology ‘‘reality’’ of indoor chemical exposures (Murphy, 2006: 14). They discuss how entities are constituted through their manifold material relationships, and these relationships have different histories that may overlap and contradict each other, and have varying intensities, durations, and stabilities (Murphy, 2006: 12). Murphy writes, A “Instead of asking, What is a building? I will be asking, What are its ands? What did its historical relations make possible?”(Murphy, 2006: 12).

Following in Murphy’s footsteps, instead of asking what lake trout are, I wanted to understand what are the “ands” of Lake Trout? In many articles Lake Trout are a fish and a resource and prey and predator and a node (ecologically) and a victim (climate change) (McCracken et al., 2013: 1913; Wilson, and Hebert, 1996: 2773; Olusanya et al., 2018).  But many ands are missing. Trout are also a meal and a gift and a connection to Land, family, and community and a story and a memory. These aspects of Lake Trout are often absent from academic journals, textbooks and Google searches, but present in the knowledges that make up Labrador communities, traditions, and people, a knowledge infrastructure “that is neither physical nor technical but purely social”(Okune et al., 2019: 4).

I live within the social knowledge infrastructure of my rural community in Southern Labrador. It is my home and taught me that these aspects of Lake Trout missing from the peer-reviewed literature are important. But my home’s knowledge infrastructure is considered scientifically inauthentic by academia’s standards. This knowledge infrastructure is unfamiliar, and likely inaccessible, to those that do not have it (Maurstad, 2002: 160). If a community’s social knowledge infrastructure cannot be accessed from the outside, how can its importance be seen, acknowledged, and cited?

The politics of citation

While I was still an undergraduate, my class was shown a documentary called Super Fly (2003), about how Fruit Flies (Drosophila melanogaster) came to become a model organism in genetics research. When the time came to write my final paper for the course, I wanted to cite something from this documentary but was told it was not an adequate source. I was told to use a peer-reviewed article instead, in which the exact same information was found and cited but was only considered credible coming from the article, not the film. I learned that “practices such as teaching, other forms of undergraduate engagement (e.g. field trips, community outreach), conference presentations, public talks, university service, newspaper articles, interviews, recorded talks, online blog posts, and artistic or multimedia projects do not often fit university’s and professional institution’s definitions of academic ‘dissemination’” (Mott and Cockayne, 2017: 968). This greatly limits the information sources that can be drawn from and encourages the exclusion of non-standard resources. Sources that are unauthorized or unauthenticated are systematically unrecognized and repressed, shallowing the available knowledge pool considered suitable for academica.

For example, children from Gui’Xhi’Ro, Juchitán or San Blas Atempa, communities in what is commonly called Mexico, are given free textbooks with “scientifically certified” knowledge (Dunlap, 2019: 162). They all have big images of wind turbines and wind parks in chapters labeled “ecology” or “saving the planet”, highlighting them as a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels, but contradicting community discussion by elders or family about how those wind parks are leaking oil into the ground, killing the fish and so on (Dunlap, 2019: 162). In places where wind turbines are being built, the knowledge from textbooks (which is pro-wind turbine) takes academic precedence. Place-based knowledge is seen as merely opinion. This is not a bug in the system, but a feature. Text books and other authoritative knowledge infrastructures is one way that, “The purveyors of colonial and positivist geographies, those empowered by racial capitalism, authenticate these spaces by valuing and economizing normative reading-citation practices that require racial subordination” (McKittrick, 2021: 34-35). McKittrick highlights how colonial and positivist knowledge infrastructures necessitate authentication but also sets the rules and barriers of authentication within the system.

How and whom we cite are inherently political practices. By controlling knowledge authentication, the systems in which information can influence environmental change in an increasingly interconnected world is also controlled (Roberts, 2020). Citation is often a performative technology of power that reifies forms of oppression and reproduces uneven academic authority (Mott and Cockayne, 2017: 965). Knowledge from peer-reviewed scholarly articles, for example, are rarely deemed unauthoritative or unauthentic. They are usually available online and easy to find through dedicated search engines such as Google Scholar. A technological, modernized, information infrastructure that is supposedly open to everyone equitably and efficiently, provided there is a stable internet connection and you can afford to get past any paywalls. This is often a necessity since these subscription-based academic resources are seen as prestigious, authoritative, and the gold standard for science. Universities often provide journal access and free internet to students, encouraging (or demanding) them to use these esteemed resources, which they could likely not afford otherwise. Mott and Cockayne (2017: 968) highlight “a tendency for citation to be done in a way that privileges particular voices over others, making a ‘desire for identification’ – a privileging of the same over the different within academic practice”. This saturates citations with references from for-profit journals, increasing their power and influence.  

“Legitimate” knowledge

During my undergraduate studies, I would almost exclusively cite from peer-reviewed articles due to ease of access (free with my university account) and high credibility, as reinforced by academia. If I found critical or relevant information elsewhere I felt I needed to “legitimize” it by finding the same or similar information in a peer-reviewed article. The article is what would be cited, and the original source discarded for not meeting authentication standards. Knowledge that could not be “legitimized” was excluded. The strict guidelines that are (hypothetically) enforced while publishing peer-reviewed articles are assumed to eliminate potential bias and unsubstantiated knowledge. However, this becomes a statement about which kinds of knowledge are acceptable to propagate, as knowledge from traditional, cultural, and place-based infrastrures, that does not follow these guidelines, is treated the same as misinformation: “Citation is equally a technology for reproducing sameness and excluding difference” (Mott and Cockayne, 2017: 960).

Indigenous knowledge in particular is often ignored or stolen and rebranded as Western wisdom and forced into dominant knowledge infrastructures. Traditional practices are only regarded as authentic if they are pre-colonial, ignoring the fluidity of traditions, allowing dominant institutions to disregard them or claim them as their own (Awâsis, 2020: 845), believing that any Indigenous innovation would not have happened without Western influence or intervention. Institutional researchers tend to see knowledge itself as apolitical or universal, overlooking any harm caused by reproducing and westernizing Indigenous knowledge without consent (Smith, 1999: 2). They may even see the assimilation of Indigenous knowledge as good, giving it “legitimacy”. I was taught that this homogenization and standardization was necessary for an accurate dissemination of knowledge, but it comes at the exclusion of knowledge beyond the dominant Western positivist tradition and buries or appropriates other individual and community accomplishments. In their interview with CBC radio, Sarah Hunt recommends citing community sources as well as academics, not only to spotlight different forms of knowledge but because their unique insights are extremely valuable (Whyte and Hunt, 2018). In their work on justice and violence issues, they point out how there are a ton of community publications on missing and murdered women that people just don’t know about, or don’t cite (Whyte and Hunt, 2018). Okune et al. (2019) wrote about how “knowledge infrastructures must be mindful of the diversity of human needs, identities, abilities, experiences and forms of knowing(13) to be as robust as possible.  Important insights and understandings are lost because these forms of knowledge are not recognized in reputable knowledge production/sharing systems when they should.  

It is important to look at the geographic context of knowledge. Lake Trout are a species with a wide region, inhabiting northern Canada, Alaska, the Great Lakes, and parts of New England (Lenart, 2001). Yet the knowledge of what Trout are is unique to Labrador within Labrador. No doubt that what Lake Trout are is also unique within Alaska, the Great Lakes, New England, or anywhere else they inhabit. The nuances of their communal and cultural significance between places, between communities, between peoples is important for understanding Lake Trout.  Sâkihitowin Awâsis, drawing from their experience as a Michif Anishinaabe niizh manidoo (two-spirit) of the Waabizheshi Dodem (Pine Marten Clan), speaks on how Anishinaabe gkendaasowin (knowledge) is “based on a multiplicity of truths and instigates wide intellectual engagement, while centering place-based ways of living that cannot be separated from the language and land” (Awâsis, 2020: 839). This highlights the contextuality of knowledge and its infrastructures.

The manifold material relationships, and the different histories of these relationships, that make up what Lake Trout are is dependent on place. Indeed, some physiological and ecological studies in Labrador do acknowledge the place-based relevance of their findings. But many studies also fail to do this. For example, many Lake Trout papers focus on more southern regions, open water areas such as the Great Lakes, which may not apply to smaller, dendritic lakes and river systems that are common in Labrador (McCracken et al., 2013: 1904). Furthermore, acknowledgement of place-based relevance is usually from a biogeographic perspective, not a traditional or cultural one. Nearly all of the information on Lake Trout coming from governmental or academic perspectives focuses on environmentalism or ecology, with little mention of the importance of the species beyond its ecological niche or commercial viability, ignoring their (Lake Trout) own agency and spirit (Wilson, and Hebert, 1996; Russel Jr, 2021; Awâsis, 2020). Community-based or traditional Indigenous knowledge are rarely mentioned or ever alluded to. This is not to say that primary biology focused articles are inherently bad– I am currently writing my thesis as one of them– but they will only provide the perspective from a narrow range of knowing. The histories of people catching fish, sharing them with elders, saving them for rough times, and how these changes over generations have significance. These practices and histories are often not written or recorded but told and taught. Our academic knowledge infrastructure does not accommodate the diversity of knowledges within Labrador that do not translate directly to data, making these forms of knowing restricted to community members within individual communities. Forcing this knowledge to fit into dominant systems could cause unforeseen harm to local populations, making alternative knowledge resources difficult to explore (Maurstad, 2002: 162). This keeps knowledge place-based. 

Saving the world

Murphy (2006: 10) describes the way a discipline or epistemological tradition perceives and does not perceive the world as its ‘regime of perceptibility’. Population genetics perceives Lake Trout differently from ethnobiology, as does the fishing industry from local communities. Academic ‘regimes of perceptibility’ would see Trout as a species, a set of genetic codes, a commercially viable population, but cannot see Trout through a cultural, or place-based infrastructure. Alternative knowledge systems are considered not-turn and are ignored or validated through assimilation. Community ‘regimes of perceptibility’, that see Trout as food, stories, a gift, must be used to understand Lake Trout outside of dominant colonial contexts. However, these regimes are seen as less intellectually valuable so have much less influence and power.

Memorial University Library catalogue search for “Labrador Lake Trout” shows peer reviewed articles, though the library has archives and specialized libraries of local knowledge as well.

The power imbalance manufactured by the dominance of academic ‘regimes of perceptibility’ over community ones allows for environmental exploitation by capitalist and settler colonial agendas. The world increasingly struggles with interrelated issues such as global climate change, industrial pollution, resource degradation, economic dispossession, and changing patterns of environmental health (Roberts, 2020). However, these issues cannot be addressed in an universal, one size fits all, manner that does not account for place-specific knowledge. The building of wind turbines near Gui’Xhi’Ro is an example of this (Dunlap, 2019: 157). Dominant environmentalism will praise wind energy as a less harmful alternative to fossil fuel, advertise this as scientifically proven, and then encourage people to donate money to help ‘save the planet’. What is not advertised is socio-ecological harm that is caused by their construction. This doesn’t mean that windmills don’t often produce cleaner energy than coal, but it does necessarily show that Gui’Xhi’Ro essential fisheries were harmed, chemicals that solidified or evacuated drinkable groundwater were used in turbine foundations, and violent disputes between groups of people erupted (Dunlap, 2019: 157). As one Gui’Xhi’Ro resident stated:

 “The thing here is that this is what white people’s money is doing. They donate because they feel bad and that they are going to wash their conscious, because they feel bad about everything and they think to themselves: “Oh I am going to donate money to a green industry because I feel bad about my existence.” Whether it is people directly donating money or not, the fact that people directly support these industries and think they are a “solution” when in actuality they are making Indigenous people shoot each other” (Dunlap, 2019: 165).

Solutions without respect for cultural, ethical and place-based infrastructure don’t ‘save’ anything, but continue existing colonial and capitalist land relations.

Environmental assessments and ecological knowledge production that do not include place-based knowledge will likewise be exploitative. Locals know that researchers who are non-local spend inadequate time on the land, and do not engage in relationship building with locals and nonhumans, resulting in underestimates of species at risk and potential impacts of development (Awâsis, 2020: 845). A snake study on Aamjiwnaang First Nation found that in all pipeline environmental assessments it said there are no species at risk and there hasn’t been for 20 years, despite Indigenous locals being able to find multiple snakes in a hour (Awâsis, 2020: 845). A contractor from Toronto fresh out of University who went to school but had never been in the bush was not going to find snakes on a First Nation (Awâsis, 2020: 845). However, a government or academic contractor’s study will oftentimes take precedence over an Indigenous one because it follows the dominant colonial guidelines for knowledge authentication. Any environmental or ecological concerns from Indigenous people can then be disregarded, allowing for “legal” resource exploitation. “Subaltern and otherwise othered populations do have spatial knowledge and geographic experience, though the articulation of these knowledges may not register as authoritative within the culture of academic geography” (Mott and Cockayne, 2017: 959). Frequent and diverse citation of traditional, cultural, and place-based sources can help combat this by forcing acknowledgment within academic infrastructures. This allows for local and Indigenous knowledge to disseminate and influence. 

Roots of knowledge

Local and Indigenous ways of knowing are rooted in specific places, with research practices having to adapt and reflect the place specific contexts. There is substantial knowledge about trout within Labrador communities, but it is nearly inaccessible without speaking to community members. Sâkihitowin Awâsis writes that “gkendaasowin (knowledge) is personal and relational; knowledge is shared with me because of who I am and my relationship to the community, and it is not possible to compartmentalize relationships built through this research apart from the relationships that make me who I am” (Awâsis, 2020: 838). Were I not a local, NunatuKavut community member from Southern Labrador myself, I would not notice nor be able to talk about local knowledge that is lacking in academic literature. Therefore “it is important that Indigenous people are doing Indigenous research because we have life-long learning and experience” (Awâsis, 2020: 838). Those from outside a place’s particular knowledge system will miss important understandings within these places. 

Top matches for a Google search of Labrador Lake Trout showing mostly sports and tourist fishing.

A Google search of “Labrador Lake Trout” will provide links to many different commercial fishing lodges but almost nothing on local knowledge or practices. People have been living in these areas for all their lives, receiving and passing down knowledge for generations. Any local questions, comments, or concerns should be taken seriously but they cannot be addressed if they cannot be heard on their own terms within knowledge infrastructures. “Indigenous political ecology centers placespecific Indigenous ways of knowing to understand intersecting ecological, social, political, and economic factors. Articulating an Indigenous political ecology aims to change the context of knowledge generation and sharing, and, thereby, the questions that inform impact assessments.” (Awâsis, 2020: 835). Accountability of citation and reference practices is one way that the context of knowledge generation and sharing can be changed to center place specific understanding.

Mott and Cockayne (2017: 965) point out “how citation is a technology of power implicated in academic practices that reproduce a white heteromasculinist neoliberal academy, but which also offers a model of resistance to those reproductions.” A consciousness and re-evaluation of how and whom we cite, and why, is needed. The idea of citing my father for anything feels ridiculous, but why? He grew up in rural Labrador from a family that lived there for generations, has a lifetime of experience working, fishing, learning, and sharing within his community. Is his, or anyone else’s, years of knowledge inconsequential because they haven’t read the right academics or didn’t have a piece of paper certifying their expertise?  Trouting has always been a part of rural fishing communities throughout Labrador (Hancock, 2021; Flynn, 2021). Some worry that the increase in recreational fishing brought on by easier access to inland lakes through new technologies (eg. snowmobiles) and an increased commercialization could have a negative impact on trout stock (Hancock, 2021). These concerns, or others from the many different communities in Labrador, are often unheard of outside of these communities. These perspectives are important because they provide unique insights and information that cannot be replicated by research methods and only come from living here and being a part of social knowledge infrastructures and traditional knowledge.  These Indigenous and local research methodologies have different regimes of perceptibility than academia, and they are essential to those most affected by the preservation of Lake Trout. 

Indigenous epistemologies uphold experience as a way of knowing and storytelling as a way of teaching (Oberndorfer et al., 2017: 462-463). But stories and traditional experience with Lake Trout, like much Indigenous knowledge, are seen as naive, contradictory and illogical within academic infrastructures (Smith, 1999: 14). This creates a power imbalance where dominant colonial knowledge takes precedence over culture, traditional or place-based epistemologies. So it is settler colonial and capitalist research methodologies that are cited and propagated in academia. However, “within the colonizing university can also exist decolonizing education” (La Paperson, 2017). Citation can be used as an anti-colonial tool in Indigenous political ecology by helping Indigenous knowledge infrastructures have influence on individuals and systems with decision making power. With rising concerns of climate change and habitat destruction, Lake Trout will continue to be at risk of extirpation, so it is necessary for Indigenous voices to be heard. Lake Trout are not a single entity but are manifold material relationships and all these relationships need to be respected for effective conservation efforts.


This article would not be possible without Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR), who provided time, payment, and a conducive environment for this work. A thank you to all the members of CLEAR citational politics group for their time and contributions. In particular, I would like to thank Rui Lui, Max Liboiron, Kaitlyn Hawkins, and Molly Lahn Rivers for editing, proofreading and idea inspiring/ sharing. We would also like to thank Calvin Flynn, Reg Hancock and George Russell Jr for their time and personal communications, as well as the NunatuKavut Community Council for continued support throughout my post-secondary studies. 

I acknowledge that Memorial University of Newfoundland is situated on the unsurrendered ancestral Lands of the Mi’kmaq and Beothuk. We would also like to acknowledge the Inuit of Nunatsiavut and NunatuKavut and the Innu of Nitassinan, and their ancestors, as the original peoples of Labrador.

Alexander Flynn (he/him) is a member of the NunatuKavut community of Inuit and settler descent from the South Coast of Labrador. Living on the island of Newfoundland in the city of St. John’s, which is located on the stolen ancestral homeland of the Beothuk peoples. He is currently a Master’s student in biology at Memorial University of Newfoundland and a research assistant at CLEAR.

This piece is part of CLEAR’s Citational Politics working group. Our citational politics public Zotero library on key sources about the politics of citation can be found here. Writing from the working group includes:
Molly Rivers, Waking up to the politics of citation
Kaitlyn Hawkins, The researchers that search engines make invisible
Max Liboiron, Firsting in Research
Max Liboiron, Citational Politics in Tight Places
Alex Flynn, Catching an Authentic Lake Trout: Knowledge Legitimization in Academia


Awasis S., (2020) “”Anishinaabe time”: temporalities and impact assessment in pipeline reviews”, Journal of Political Ecology 27(1). p.830-852. doi:

Dunlap A., (2019) “Revisiting the wind energy conflict in Gui’Xhi’ Ro / Álvaro Obregón: interview with an indigenous anarchist”, Journal of Political Ecology 26(1). p.150-166. doi:

Erica Oberndorfer, Nellie Winters, Carol Gear, Gita Ljubicic, and Jeremy Lundholm. (1 October 2017). “Plants in a “Sea of Relationships”: Networks of Plants and Fishing in Makkovik, Nunatsiavut (Labrador, Canada),” Journal of Ethnobiology 37(3), 458-477.

Flynn, Calvin. Indigenous Community Member. Forteau, Newfoundland and Labrador. Personal interview. 20 January 2021.

Hancock, Reg. Community Member. Forteau, Newfoundland and Labrador. Personal interview. 18 February 2021.

La Paperson. (2017) “A Third University Is Possible.” University of Minnesota Press.

Lenart, S. 2001. “Salvelinus namaycush” (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed 08 February, 2021 at

Maurstad, Anita. (2002). “Fishing in murky waters—ethics and politics of research on fisher knowledge.” Marine Policy, 26(3), 159-166.

McCracken, Gregory R, Perry, Robert, Keefe, Donald, and Ruzzante, Daniel E. (2013). “Hierarchical Population Structure and Genetic Diversity of Lake Trout (Salvelinus Namaycush) in a Dendritic System in Northern Labrador.” Freshwater Biology 58(9) 1903-917.

McKittrick, Katherine. (2021). Dear Science and Other Stories, New York, USA: Duke University Press.

Mott, Carrie, and Cockayne, Daniel. (2017). “Citation Matters: Mobilizing the Politics of Citation toward a Practice of ‘conscientious Engagement’.” Gender, Place and Culture : A Journal of Feminist Geography 24(7) 954-73.

Murphy, Michelle. (2006). Sick Building Syndrome and the Problem of Uncertainty : Environmental Politics, Technoscience, and Women Workers. Durham: Duke UP, 2006.

Olusanya, Hope O, and Van Zyll De Jong, M. (2018) “Assessing the Vulnerability of Freshwater Fishes to Climate Change in Newfoundland and Labrador.” PloS One 13(12) E0208182.

Okune, Angela, Hillyer, Rebecca, Chan, Leslie, Albornoz, Denisse, and Posada, Alejandro. “Whose Infrastructure? Towards Inclusive and Collaborative Knowledge Infrastructures in Open Science.” (16 May 2019) OpenEdition Press. OpenEdition, 2019. OpenEdition Press.

Roberts, J. 2020. Political Ecology. In The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Anthropology (eds) F. Stein, S. Lazar, M. Candea, H. Diemberger, J. Robbins, A. Sanchez & R. Stasch.

Russell Jr, George. Director, Environment and Natural Resource Department. NunatuKavut Community Council. Personal Communication. January 10 2021

Sarkar, Atanu, Wilton, Derek H. C, Fitzgerald, Erica, Sharma, Abhishek, Sharma, Abhinav, and Sathya, Akshay Jinka. (2019). “Environmental Impact Assessment of Uranium Exploration and Development on Indigenous Land in Labrador (Canada): A Community-driven Initiative.” Environmental Geochemistry and Health 41(2) 939-49.

Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. (1999). Decolonizing Methodologies. 2nd Edition. New York, Palgrave, a division of St Martin’s Press, LLC, 2004 (1st Edition 1999)

Smith, Phillip (Director/Producer). (19 September 2003) Superfly [TV Documentary]. Oxford Film & Television. United Kingdom.

Whyte, Kyle Powys, and Hunt, Sarah. Interview by CBC Radio. (24 August 2018) “The politics of citation: Is the peer review process biased against Indigenous academics?”. CBC Radio. Accessed on 15 January 2021

Wilson, C C, and Hebert, P DN. (1996). “Phylogeographic Origins of Lake Trout (Salvelinus Namaycush) in Eastern North America.” Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 53(12) 2764-775.