Self-Determination in Deline: Cultural and Linguistic Revitalization in a Legal and Spatial Context

Regions: Sahtu Settlement Area

Tags: social sciences, self-government, linguistics, language, self-determination

Principal Investigator: Rice, Faun E (1)
Licence Number: 15702
Organization: University of Alberta
Licensed Year(s): 2015
Issued: Jul 06, 2015
Project Team: Faun Rice (Principle Investigator, University of Alberta)

Objective(s): To produce a record and analysis for Indigenous populations working towards a similar level of independence and for Canadian scholars, institutions, and individuals working with First Nations, Metis, or Inuit populations that will help them ensure that their practices are aiding decolonization.

Project Description: The Principle Investigator aims to produce a useful record and analysis not only for Indigenous populations working towards a similar level of independence, but also for Canadian scholars, institutions, and individuals working with First Nations, Metis, or Inuit populations that will help them ensure that their practices are aiding decolonization.

This project will involve ethnographic field research in Deline that documents the transition into Indigenous self-determination. Focus will be on cultural and linguistic revitalization within the community, considering the intersections between these efforts and their legal and spatial contexts. The researcher will seek to interview organizers of the Deline Land Corporation, and work with other members of the community (population approximately 500) to reach data saturation by developing an understanding of the diverse array of perspectives regarding self-determination.

In the process of this research, the PI will identify any bureaucratic and/or cultural and/or contextual obstacles to Deline's self-governance process. The research plan is to create a plain language report in both English and North Slavey with useful research results for the community. Hopefully, it will be informative to them as they go on to develop curriculum, language policy, land use guidelines, or further relationships with territorial and federal government bodies.

As a member of the Dene National Assembly, Deline has the potential to use and share information about their community based self-governance agreement with other groups within the Northwest Territories, if they so wish. There are precedents for this, such as within Behchoko, a nearby self-governing community.

The PI will add to Deline's collection of digitized collection of North Slavey. Language preservation is an ongoing project within the community. As a part of this research plan findings will be presented to both academic and Indigenous communities, and create an accessible summary of the research translated into North Slavey in order for it to be useful to all members of the community.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from August 1, 2015 to September 30, 2015.