Community-Based Dehcho K'éhodi Planning

Regions: Dehcho Region

Tags: social sciences, resource management, needs assessment

Principal Investigator: Latta, Alex (2)
Licence Number: 16334
Organization: Wilfrid Laurier University
Licenced Year(s): 2018
Issued: Jun 14, 2018
Project Team: Dahti Tsetso (Co-investigator, Dehcho First Nations), Robyn McLeod (Co-investigator, Dehcho First Nations)

Objective(s): To identify best practices for Dehcho K’éhodi planning, which can be used as a starting point for similar planning activities in other member communities; and to contribute to broader discussions in Canada about Indigenous-led land and water stewardship, ultimately with the goal of encouraging supportive policy and funding for such activities at local, regional and national levels.

Project Description: The objectives of the research are: 1) to deepen community engagement in Dehcho K’éhodi and enhance future community-level action for land and water stewardship; 2) to identify best practices for Dehcho K’éhodi planning, which can be used as a starting point for similar planning activities in other member communities; and, 3) contribute to broader discussions in Canada about Indigenous-led land and water stewardship, ultimately with the goal of encouraging supportive policy and funding for such activities at local, regional and national levels.

The research team combines a university researcher with Dehcho First Nation staff, and the team will work closely with the Environment Coordinators in each community to arrive at the final design for each community-based planning process. Alex Latta and Robyn McLeod will carry out the research in the communities, supported by each community’s Environment Coordinator.

In June roughly 15 people from each community will participate in the initial phase of planning, which will take place as a full-day workshop (roughly six hours). They will engage in group discussion and activities to identify priorities for Dehcho K’éhodi. A second meeting will take place in November, as far as possible including the same community members who participated in the first workshop. The purpose of that meeting (lasting roughly 2-3 hours) will be to obtain their feedback on a draft Dehcho K’éhodi plan. Participants for the planning workshop and follow-up meeting will include First Nation leadership and staff, as well as elders, harvesters and youth representation. Participants will be recruited by the Environment Coordinator in each community.

A second part of the process will involve work with a smaller group, including the Environment Coordinator, a representative from leadership and 1-2 others from among those who participate in the larger workshop and meeting. This group will meet for 3-4 hours the day following the initial workshop to identify preliminary elements of a Dehcho K’éhodi plan from the priorities and other ideas recorded during the workshop. The participants in this smaller planning group will also be asked to participate in semi-structured interviews (roughly 30-40 minutes each) after the initial phase of the planning process, and in a short focus group discussion (1.5-2 hours) after the November follow-up meeting.

The planning activities will be documented in detailed notes, and audio recorded when possible. Ideas raised by participants during the process will be also be collected in written and other kinds of outputs associated with participatory planning, such as easel pad lists, photos of whiteboard ideograms, maps or charts with sticky note commentary about key ideas or locations, etc. The interviews and focus group sessions will be recorded, and the researchers will also take detailed notes.

Recordings from the planning sessions will be selectively transcribed in identified sections where information is not successfully captured in other formats. The interview and focus group recordings will be transcribed in their entirety.


The aim of the project is to engage communities in the process of planning for strategic priorities in each community's Dehcho K'éhodi programming—including the activities of the Dehcho guardians in environmental monitoring, language and culture programming, and on-the-land activities for youth and other community members.

The outcomes will assist communities by providing strategic plans that will support Dehcho K'éhodi program development, leading to better environmental, cultural and livelihood outcomes.

The return trip to the communities in November will be a key opportunity to share results of the work with the research participants, which will include community leadership. As these planning meetings are open to the community, even those who did not participate in the initial planning session will also be welcome. This opportunity to share and validate the results of the research is vital to the planning process.

The final Dehcho Kéhodi plans will be made available publicly in each of the communities’ Band offices, and the Environment Coordinators will use the plans as a support for continuing education and outreach in their communities.

A report outlining the broader findings from the process, including best practices and recommendations for similar planning processes in other DFN communities, will be presented at the annual Dehcho K’éhodi meeting in January 2019. The research team will also make this report available via the DFN web site. Any other research outputs such as scholarly publications (along with plain-language summaries) will be made available to Dehcho First Nation and the two participant communities. Such outputs will also be shared on the NWT Discovery Portal.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from June 14, 2018 to November 30, 2018.