Tlicho Women and Traditional Knowledge in the Environmental Assessment of the NICO Project proposed by Fortune Minerals Limited

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: social sciences, traditional knowledge, socio-economics, women

Principal Investigator: Kuntz, Janelle (1)
Licence Number: 15764
Organization: University of Victoria
Licenced Year(s): 2016
Issued: Oct 09, 2015

Objective(s): To explore the value of Tlicho women's traditional knowledge in the environmental assessment of the NICO project proposed by Fortune Minerals Limited.

Project Description: The objective of this research is to explore the value of Tlicho women's traditional knowledge (TK) in the environmental assessment of the NICO project proposed by Fortune Minerals Limited.
Primary research questions include:
•What types of traditional knowledge were Tlicho women sharing in the context of the TK study interviews and public hearings?
•How did the process of the TK study influence the process and outcomes of the environmental assessment?
•How did people gain the authority to provide their specific knowledge?
•How was women’s connection with de` (the experience and travel on the land) expressed in the environmental assessment?
•How was women’s knowledge mobilized from the traditional knowledge study into the regulatory context?

Group 1) Analyzing TK Study Interview transcripts
Data that was collected by the Firelight Group for the Tlicho Government in the TK study will be requested from the Tlicho Government for analysis in the final thesis. This data includes audio recordings, transcripts and spatial mapping data from individual interviews. Analysis will be focused on the transcripts of the interviews, which will include textual thematic coding of the interview transcripts in an excel spreadsheet table. The spatial data will be used to compare what was said in the TK study transcript and what was subsequently mapped.

The TK study data is considered property of the Tlicho Government, and as such the Principal Investigator (PI) will be required to obtain permission and abide by any other community protocols to use the data in my final analysis. If individual consent is required by each participant from the original interviews in the TK study, the Tlicho Government will assist in obtaining that consent. For publication purposes, efforts will be taken to protect those who may be in a vulnerable position since this data is being analyzed for a different purpose than when it was originally collected. This includes measures such as not naming individuals in the thesis, discussing an overview of issues being reported, analyzing the questions asked by the researchers and analyzing if the information within the transcripts to see if it reinforces gendered assumptions of land use practise or refutes it.

Group 2) Analyzing Public Hearing Transcripts
The transcripts from the environmental assessment of the NICO Project proposed by Fortune Minerals (EA0809-004) will be analyzed. Analysis will include textual thematic coding in an excel spreadsheet table. Because this is publicly accessible data, permission is not required to access and analyze these files. The Tlicho Government will be aware that the PI will be analyzing this data.

Group 3) Interviewing the authors of the TK study
The PI will be contacting the authors of the TK study to ask them if they would like to participate in an interview for this research project. The PI will read to them the script and if they are interested, will ask them if interview can be scheduled at their convenience. They will be asked if they prefer to have an interview over the phone or another web- based technology, such as Skype.

Prior to the beginning of each interview, the PI will send each participant a copy of the consent form and read it over with them. If the interview is being conducted by phone, they will be asked to give verbal consent, which the PI will note on the consent form and in my notebook. If the interview takes place in person, they will be asked to sign two copies—one for them to keep and one for the PI’s records.

Participants will be explicitly asked if they agree to the audio recording of the interview, and if their interview may be transcribed for analysis. Additionally, they will be asked if quotes may be used from their transcript in the thesis, and whether or not they would like their names included in the final write-up. Where they do not want their names associated with their data, they will not be identified as an author and direct quotes will not be used. Participants will have a chance to review all of their quotes and ideas used in the thesis before the final submission. They will be reminded that they may end the interview at anytime and withdraw at a future date. The PI will be taking notes in a notebook as the interviews are taking place. They will be taken in the same notebook for both interviews. Audio recordings will be taken on a personal laptop, and backed up onto a hard drive after each interview. This will all be stated on the consent form. The interviews will start with asking a bit about their background as an ice- breaker, and move into the interview questions. Halfway through the interview, the PI will do a check-in to see if the participants need a rest or are comfortable with the interview so far.

This research is being conducted with permission of the Tlicho Government, who will be instrumental to guiding the research process. They will act in an advisory role to the PI throughout the process and duration of the project.

This project is expected to benefit the Tlicho Government and report authors by exploring how this environmental assessment created an avenue for certain knowledge holders to be heard, and potentially for certain knowledge holders to be silenced. This can be beneficial for the community when and if they approach similar projects or processes in the future, and how to possibly navigate through such issue.

A copy of the results will be sent to the community and any participants for review prior to the finalization of the thesis. Meetings will be held with members of the Tlicho Government to discuss the final results of the research. A copy of the final published thesis will be forwarded to the community to keep.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016.