Can Dene Ways of Resolving Conflicts and Building Peace Inform Governing Structures?

Regions: Sahtu Settlement Area

Tags: social sciences, governance

Principal Investigator: Erasmus, Lila M (1)
Licence Number: 15868
Organization: University of Victoria
Licenced Year(s): 2016
Issued: Apr 25, 2016
Project Team: M. Jerry McHale, QC (Supervisor, School of Public Admin, University of Victoria), Dr. Michael Asch (Co-Supervisor, School of Anthropology, University of Victoria), Bill Erasmus (Project Supervisor, Dene Nation of the Northwest Territories)

Objective(s): To examine how the Dene resolve conflict within their community and how these principles could inform the development of their governing structures.

Project Description: The objective of the project is to examine how the Dene resolve conflict within their community and how these principles could inform the development of their governing structures is the basis of this research project.

The main research question is: By what principles, processes and mechanisms do the Dene resolve conflicts and build peace within their communities? Sub questions include: Are Dene principles of dispute resolution and peace building incorporated within the Deline Self-Government Agreement (2015)? How can Dene principles inform the governance models and the programs and services that the Dene intend to offer?

Open-ended interviews will be conducted with a minimum of 8 Elders from Deline, NT. They will be identified through referrals by community members. Interviews will take approximately 1 hour. Interviews will be recorded and transcribed. A copy of the transcribed material will be reviewed by the interviewee to ensure that the information is correct prior to using it in the analysis. Interviews will be used to gather the data not available in the stories. The purpose of the interviews is to provide the research project with insight from Dene Elders and strong community members on past events that have led to the resolution of conflict or disputes in order to provide insight into practical means of resolving conflicts through cultural customs, laws or protocol.

Once an interviewee has been identified the Principal Investigator (PI) will contact them in person, by phone or by mail, to request their participation. The recruitment script or recruitment letter will be used to ensure that all relevant information has been fully disclosed. The PI will request their participation in the research, explaining to them the objective and provide some background information. If they agree to participate, the PI will provide options on times and location available to meet. Once a time and location is agreed upon, the PI will provide a copy of the consent form and interview questions for them to review prior to meeting in person. If they do not use a computer or have access to one, the PI will make arrangements to have copies of a consent form and interview questions delivered to their home. The PI will ensure they are comfortable before going on to read the recruitment script to them to ensure they are reminded of the objective of the research project and interview. The contents of the consent form will be verbally explained to the interviewee and the PI will request their full understanding before obtaining their signature on the document. Before the interview begins, the PI will confirm that they are comfortable with recording the interview. If they are not comfortable with being recorded, notes will be taken.

This research will assist by providing an understanding of how the Dene would resolve differences within their communities and how these can be different from the traditional western methods of dispute resolution. Further it will use this information to show how these principles could inform the development of Dene Government organizational structures for the Deline Governments.

Research results will be communicated to the interviewee through a final report and thesis. A copy will also be made available to the Deline Government and the Dene Nation along with a copy of a power point presentation that summarizes the findings for them should they want to share this with the community or regions.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from April 25, 2016 to August 31, 2016.