One of the early applications of TEK occurred during the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Federal and state agencies recognized the vast traditional knowledge of the Native community who could provide detailed information on conditions in the years prior to the spill. The Native community had knowledge of the historic population sizes and ranges of many of the species injured by the spill as well as observations concerning the diet, behavior, and interrelationships of injured species. Optimal use of scientific data and traditional knowledge while increasing the involvement of communities in oil spill restoration enhanced the success of restoration effort.
Last updated: January 13, 2016