Modern Treaty Dispute Resolution: Lessons & Prospects

Regions: Gwich'in Settlement Area

Tags: social sciences, agreement negotiation, governance, land claim

Principal Investigator: Wright, David V. (1)
Licence Number: 16587
Organization: University of Calgary, Faculty of Law
Licenced Year(s): 2019
Issued: Jun 27, 2019
Project Team: Dr. Janna Promislow (Collaborator, Thompson Rivers University)

Objective(s): To document the existing experience with dispute resolution mechanisms under modern treaty agreements.

Project Description: The objectives of this project are to:
1) generate an evidence-based account of the use and non-use of modern treaty dispute resolution mechanisms;
2) compare similarities and differences between existing dispute resolution provisions across modern treaties;
3) situate modern treaty dispute resolution mechanisms and practices within the broader landscape of civil dispute resolution in Indigenous contexts; and,
set a foundation for further research, including gathering community-level perspectives in modern treaty Indigenous communities with respect to civil dispute resolution.

The primary research method for this project is book and online research and information gathering (literature review, analysis and synthesis).

The researchers will conduct interviews with a small number (less than 5) of individuals with expertise on inter-governmental affairs and dispute resolution under the modern treaties. These individuals will have worked as government officials in Indigenous (Gwich'in Tribal Council (GTC) in the NWT) and/or public governments or as consultants. The aim for these interviews is to ensure we are able to document the existing experience with dispute resolution mechanisms under modern treaty agreements.

The focus on the Gwich'in context in the NWT is a result of relationships with the principle investigator and Gwich'in expressions of interest in research on dispute resolution. The Land Claim Agreement Coalition (LCAC) has also expressed support for this research through its participation in the Grant Steering Committee of the Modern Treaty Implementation Research Project.


The project will involve northern individuals as informants to help document the experience of the Gwich'in and other land claim groups, as well as of the federal and territorial governments, with alternative dispute resolution processes in the implementation of final agreements. The project also involves one or more presentations to the Gwich'in Tribal Council to present and discuss the results of the research. The results will assist the broader community's understanding of the use and non-use of dispute resolution mechanisms to date. Participants and community members may gain a better and broader understanding of dispute resolution mechanisms in place under modern treaties in different parts of Canada, and may be able to better understand similarities and differences.

The research team anticipate sharing the research in several ways, a primary mode of which will be presenting findings in person to the Gwich'in Tribal Council in Inuvik. Overall, communicating results will include one draft report and one summary report will be provided to the GTC and any other involved Land Claims Agreement Coalition LCAC members .This report will be disseminated through the LCAC and/or GTC website, as well as through appropriate LCAC email distribution channels. A presentations will be made to the GTC in Inuvik. Finally the research team will submit one or more peer reviewed articles to be published in a reputable open-source academic journals.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from July 15, 2019 to December 31, 2019.