Dehcho K’ehodi Needs and Assets Inventory

Regions: Dehcho Region

Tags: social sciences, resource management, needs assessment

Principal Investigator: Latta, Alex (3)
Licence Number: 15978
Organization: Wilfrid Laurier University
Licenced Year(s): 2016
Issued: Nov 17, 2016
Project Team: Dahti Tsetso, Resource Management Coordinator for Dehcho First Nations (Co-investigator, Dehcho First Nation)

Objective(s): To contribute to knowledge about the political, economic, social and cultural factors shaping Indigenous people’s opportunities to engage in land and water stewardship.

Project Description: The objectives of the research have evolved through a collaborative process of research design, working directly with the Resource Management Coordinator for Dehcho First Nations (DFN).

The specific objectives of the Dehcho K’ehodi inventory are to collect data on the following:
1) The most important features of the territory for each community, based on identified areas of traditional land-use intensity, as well as their most pressing concerns in relation to land and water stewardship; 2) The kinds of assets present in each community that would facilitate their participation in Dehcho K’ehodi; 3) Needs identified in each community, for resources or other supports that would facilitate their participation in Dehcho K’ehodi; and, 4) Hopes and expectations regarding the Dehcho K’ehodi initiative.

More broadly, the scholarly objectives of the research are to: 1) develop an Indigenous-academic partnership to study socio-ecological resilience in a way that is meaningful for Indigenous peoples; 2) contribute to knowledge about the political, economic, social and cultural factors shaping Indigenous people’s opportunities to engage in land and water stewardship; and, 3) collect data that can be drawn into comparison with case studies in other parts of the world, specifically with regard to the way environmental conservation and cultural revitalization objectives can be mutually reinforcing in approaches to increasing socio-ecological resilience.

A survey of community needs and assets will be conducted with all ten communities affiliated with the Dehcho First Nation (eight geographic locations, with both Métis and Dene Nation governments in Fort Providence and Fort Simpson, but only Dene Nation governments in all the others). This survey will be carried out by two Indigenous research assistants from the region, under the supervision of the Dehcho First Nations Resource Management Coordinator.

The survey will consist of semi-structured interviews with 1-2 key informants in each community, usually including each community’s resource manager, and/or another representative of local Indigenous governments. The interviews will last 1-1.5 hours. In addition, a focus group of 4-6 individuals will be held in each community, involving other community leaders and traditional knowledge holders. Each focus group will last up to 2 hours.

The interviews and focus groups will be recorded, but the recordings will not be transcribed. Instead, interview and focus group data for each community will be summarized by the research assistants, with time points on key data items included in the summaries.

Dehcho First Nations has been directly involved in the research design, and will oversee the data collection. The resource management officers in the communities to be involved in the research were also consulted on research design. 6-8 individuals in each community will participate in the research, which is conceived as collaborative knowledge generation.

The research will contribute to the continued evolution of the Dehcho K’ehodi land and water stewardship initiative, providing a territory-wide identification of the capacity of Dehcho communities to engage with the initiative, and similarly of the pressing needs for capacity building to increase local engagement. The Dehcho region is facing rapid environmental change as a result of global warming, and also the potential for significant resource development over the coming decades. It is crucial that climate change adaptation, as well as processes to govern future resource development, occur in a context where the communities of Dehcho First Nations have the ability to maintain traditional relationships with the land as the basis for ensuring the survival of their language, culture and identity for generations to come. It is also crucial that these communities have a strong voice in determining the shape of future resource development. The Dehcho K’ehodi initiative is one key step towards these ends.

The participants will be provided with the summary of their interview or focus group within one month from its completion. Dehcho First Nations will be provided with the final report of the study by the end of April 2017, and will circulate it to participants as well as community governments. The principle investigator will also attend the DFN Annual Assembly in June 2017, and will deliver the report there to the assembled representatives of DFN communities. The research findings will contribute to research outputs such as conference papers, policy briefs, and academic articles. These outputs will be made available to DFN for circulation to participant communities, and will in all cases be accompanied by plain-language summaries. Some of these research outputs may also be circulated to resource governance partners identified by DFN, who could include the Government of Northwest Territories (Department of Environment and Natural Resources), Parks Canada, and non-governmental organizations (e.g. International Boreal Conservation Campaign).

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from November 17, 2016 to December 31, 2016.