Sustainable Water Governance and Indigenous Law Project

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area, Sahtu Settlement Area, Dehcho Region, North Slave Region, South Slave Region

Tags: physical sciences, social sciences, water quality, traditional knowledge, community based monitoring, governance

Principal Investigator: Bakker, Karen (1)
Licence Number: 16109
Organization: University of British Columbia
Licenced Year(s): 2017
Issued: Jun 08, 2017
Project Team: Dr. Karen Bakker (Principal Investigator, Chair, Council, and Member of Knowledge Translation Working Group (WG)), Dr. Glen Coulthard (Co-Investigator and Member of Indigenous Governance (WG)), Dr. Erin Freeland Ballantyne (Co-Investigator and Chair of of Community-Based Research WG), Dr. Rutgard Boelens (Co-Investigator and Member of the Knowledge Translation WG), Dr. John Borrows (Co-Investigator and Chair of Indigenous Governance WG), Dr. Carrie Bourassa (Co-Investigator and Chair of Indigenous Research Methods WG), Dr. Alice Cohen (Co-Investigator and Member of Policy Innovation WG), Professor Aimee Craft (Co-Investigator and Member of Indigenous Governance WG), Dr. Gordon Christie (Co-Investigator and Member of Indigenous Governance WG), Dr. Michelle Daigle (Co-Investigator and Member of Community-Based Research WG), Dr. Leila Harris (Co-Investigator and Member of Community-Based Research WG), Dr. Mark Johnson (Co-Investigator and Member of Community-Based Research WG), Dr. Daniel Justice (Collaborator and Member of Indigenous Research Methods WG), Dr. Linc Kesler (Collaborator and Member of Indigenous Research Methods WG), Dr. Rosemary Knight (Co-Investigator and Member of Policy Innovation WG), Dr. Madjid Mohseni (Collaborator and Member of Community-Based Research WG), Dr. Kate J. Neville (Co-Investigator and Chair of Policy Innovation WG), Dr. Emma Norman (Member of Indigenous Research Methods WG), Dr. Avner Vengosh (Collaborator and Member of Policy Innovation WG), Dr. Erika Weinthal (Member of Policy Innovation Group), Dr. Rita Wong (Member of Knowledge Translation Working Group)

Objective(s): To enhance effective, equitable Indigenous co-governance of water resources.

Project Description: The project goal is to enhance effective, equitable Indigenous co-governance of water resources through pursuing five objectives:
1) to critically conceptualize the potential for reciprocal coordination of, and complementarity between, evolving common ("Western") and Indigenous water law and governance frameworks;
2) to develop innovative methods for co-researching Indigenous Water Governance, based on collaborative principles such as "Two-Eyed Seeing";
3) to support improved water governance by developing and implementing a community Environmental Monitoring and Information System (EMIS), pilot-tested with Indigenous communities across Western and Northern Canada;
4) to create innovative legal, regulatory and policy tools and associated strategies for enhancing Indigenous community engagement in water governance; and,
(5) to disseminate our findings in an innovative fashion, using a broad range of multi-media tools (video, digital media, photography, briefing notes, interactive website) in multiple languages (English, French, and Dene) accessible to diverse audiences.

The primary research methods will be: Semi-structured Interviews/Focus Group, Survey Research methods, and participatory research (including auto ethnography and participant observation).

The research team will also be piloting water monitoring tools and techniques. This will include using water monitoring tools to assess turbidity and ph testing.

The team will be conducting this research at various locations as the community partnerships develop over time. The research will begin with trips to Dechinta Bush University, and out-trips along the Peel, the Horton and the Dehcho rivers.

In the following years, research relationships will be further developed to include more detailed studies and researcher engagement with specific communities to address their ongoing water governance needs.

Research collaborations will proceed with the understanding that a community may engage nominally or choose to disengage from the research project. Should it be deemed appropriate other community partnerships will be established to widen the scope of research.

The research team will be observing respect for persons and communities through securing free, informed and ongoing consent with the participants. The team recognize that codes of research practice go beyond the scope of ethical protections for individual participants, and extend to the interconnection between humans and the natural world, and include obligations to maintain, and pass on to future generations, knowledge received from ancestors as well as innovations devised in the present generation. In recognition of this, the research process will include ongoing consultation with partner communities and individuals.

Two of the goals include: creating innovative legal, regulatory and policy tools and associated strategies for enhancing Indigenous community engagement in water governance, as well as disseminating the findings in an innovative fashion, using a broad range of multi-media tools (video, digital media, photography, briefing notes, interactive website) in multiple languages (English, French, and Dene) accessible to diverse audiences.

The research team will be determining the provisions for determining intellectual property rights with our research advisory council prior to any research taking place. Specific agreements pertaining to intellectual property will be determined in collaboration and consultation with each research community.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from June 8, 2017 to December 31, 2017.