Shift by Alberta Innovates

Shift talks Sacred Science with Alvin First Rider, Brett Purdy, and Emily Herdman

September 26, 2023 Alvin First Rider, Emily Herdman, Brett Purdy Season 4 Episode 20
Shift by Alberta Innovates
Shift talks Sacred Science with Alvin First Rider, Brett Purdy, and Emily Herdman
Show Notes

Sacred Science brings together Indigenous knowledge and western science to create opportunities for new solutions to environmental challenges, including issues that are important to Indigenous People.

For this edition of Shift, I had the chance to sit with Alvin First Rider and talk about the Blood Tribe's Buffalo Restoration Project. We were joined by Emily Herdman from InnoTech Alberta and Brett Purdy from Alberta Innovates.

Alvin is a member of the Káínawa, or Blood Tribe,  in southern Alberta. Extending into US territory, these lands form the traditional territory of the Blackfoot Confederacy. Alvin speaks about his nation's use western science alongside Indigenous Knowledge to bring buffalo back to their historical plains.

We discuss the importance of restoring this iconic animal as part of an intertribal effort to restore the great plains ecosystem and to reclaim the traditions of the Indigenous peoples who have occupied these lands since time immemorial.

The Sacred Science video series, developed in collaboration with Indigenous communities in Alberta, Alberta Innovates and InnoTech Alberta, tells the stories of how these communities are leveraging Indigenous knowledge in tandem with western science to tackle complex conservation and land management challenges that impact all of us and to preserve their cultures.

These videos demonstrate successful collaboration between Indigenous communities and natural scientists that create meaningful impact and demonstrate our commitment to reconciliation, particularly in the natural sciences.
You can see all three videos here.


Alvin First Rider, Environmental Technician, Blood Tribe Land Management

Alvin is a member of the Blood Tribe of Southern Alberta and a descendant of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana both of the Blackfoot Confederacy. Alvin works as a environmental technician with Blood Tribe Land management.

He's been an advocate for the voiceless flora and fauna of Blackfoot Territory, and for traditional use land management practice such as bison, cultural burning, beaver restoration from a Blackfoot perspective.

Emily Herdman, Technical Lead, InnoTech Alberta

Emily is the Supervisor of Integration and Sector Alignment for the Environmental Services division at InnoTech Alberta. She supports project development and implementation in Environmental Impacts and Biodiversity Monitoring, while also nurturing strong relationships with key partners and progressing strategic planning for priority areas.

Bringing the right people together to solve complex client problems is what Emily enjoys most about her job. Her projects have included Indigenous communities, industry, academic, government, and regulators, reflecting her broad network and focus on collaborative approaches to achieve meaningful outcomes.

Brett Purdy, Executive Director of Environmental Innovation, Alberta Innovates

Brett is the Executive Director of Environmental Innovation at Alberta Innovates. In this position, Brett works with a talented team responsible for a supporting research and innovation in the areas of integrated land management, restoration and reclamation, climate adaptation and sustainable water resource management. 

Brett has worked in government and academic institutions as a reclamation research scientist, and has conducted research in reclamation, forest ecology, conservation biology, and population genetics and taught university courses in forestry and conservation. 

Shift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.