Preparing for Deline Self Government: Mapping the Enabling/Disabling Environment

Regions: Sahtu Settlement Area

Tags: social sciences, governance, self-government

Principal Investigator: Irlbacher-Fox, Stephanie (5)
Licence Number: 14469
Organization: Fox Consulting
Licensed Year(s): 2009
Issued: Feb 11, 2009
Project Team: Danny Gaudet (Community Liaison, Deline Land Corporation), Jane Modeste (Translator, Deline Land Corporation), Patricia Modeste (Administrator, Deline Land Corporation)

Objective(s): The objectives of the research are: 1) to gain a greater understanding among community administrators and members of how external agencies on the effectiveness of community governments; 2) increase awareness of how systemic obstructing and facilitating factors may be approached to create an enabling environment for institutional development; 3) to increase the research capacity of the community in the area of governance by providing experience and training to translators and research staff based in Deline; 4) develop an appreciation among community members about the connections between current governance issues and their potential to be addressed through self government planning and implementation.

Project Description: This licence is being issued for the scientific research application no. 980.

The objectives of the research are: 1) to gain a greater understanding among community administrators and members of how external agencies on the effectiveness of community governments; 2) increase awareness of how systemic obstructing and facilitating factors may be approached to create an enabling environment for institutional development; 3) to increase the research capacity of the community in the area of governance by providing experience and training to translators and research staff based in Deline; 4) develop an appreciation among community members about the connections between current governance issues and their potential to be addressed through self government planning and implementation.

The community of Deline is in the final stages of negotiating a self government agreement, the first of its kind in Canada which will combine an Aboriginal self government with the community’s land claim organization and the municipality. Planning for the transition from three community organizations to one self government combining municipal responsibilities with constitutionally protected self government authorities is a significant challenge. A first step in planning is taking stock of the community’s capacity to deliver territorial-like programs and services. This will be done though a governance capacity assessment that will tell us where capacity strengths and weaknesses exist. The project is both necessary and groundbreaking: no governance capacity assessments have been conducted with First Nations in Canada, and there are no models for such an assessment.

The research will be conducted through a combination of analysis of policies, procedures, and agreements between community governments and other governments; and, a series of primary research activities. Research methods will include anthropological observer/participation, participatory research through utilization of local research capacity to define research foci and approaches, and analysis of relevant academic literature and institutional documents.

Research activities will include: 1) a comprehensive inventory of all agreements between territorial and federal governments with the Deline First Nation, the Deline Land Corporation, and the municipality; 2) individual interviews with First Nation, Land Corporation, and municipal administrators; 3) workshop/focus groups with First Nation, Land Corporation, and municipal administrators; 4) workshops with Elders and elected community leaders.

Deline is a community where the primary language of work and home is the North Slavey Dene dialect. Therefore all research activities will require the participation of a translator; written materials and translations will require the services of two translators to ensure accuracy of the translations, in accordance with local translation practices.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted in Deline from February 11 to May 1, 2009.