Moving Towards Indigenous Self-determination Through the Establishment of Co-governed Parks and Protected Areas: A Case Study of Thaidene Nëné

Regions: South Slave Region

Tags: social sciences, protected area, self-determination, parks

Principal Investigator: King, Lauren Joanna (1)
Licence Number: 16703
Organization: University of Waterloo
Licensed Year(s): 2020
Issued: Feb 26, 2020
Project Team: Stephen Murphy, Steve Ellis, Steven Nitah, Glen Guthrie

Objective(s): To examine how the establishment of Thaidene Nene may contribute to the nation's progress towards Denesoline self-determination.

Project Description: This licence has been issued for the scientific research application No.3091.

The aim of this research is to enhance the understanding of the relationship between co-governed parks and protected areas and Indigenous self-determination. The purpose of this research project with the Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation (LKDFN) is to examine how the establishment of Thaidene Nene may contribute to the nation's progress towards Denesoline self-determination. This research should contribute to the growing body of literature on parks and protected areas and Indigenous peoples; inform the planning and management of Thaidene Nene; and the creation of other parks and protected areas as a pathway for other Indigenous peoples to progress towards greater self-determination.

LKDFN Research Partners and the Principle Investigator (PI) will jointly identify potential research participants/knowledge holders to be involved in the study. These research activities are also subject to change based on guidance and input from LKDFN Research Partner. Culturally appropriate protocols, procedures, and practices will also be incorporated into the study. These research activities will contribute in different ways to achieving the study objectives and answering the research questions.

Interviews: The interviews used in this study will be open-ended, conversational interviews. The goal of this interview method is to allow each knowledge holder/participant to tell her or his story in relation to Thaidene Nene. This type of interview format is conversational and encourages a story-telling style where the knowledge holder/participant sets the pace and the interviewer listens, clarifies, and raises topics which may not arisen spontaneously during the course of the conversation.

The first set of interviews will document LKDFN’s understandings of and perspectives on the establishment of Thaidene Nene. Participants may include Elders, Chiefs and Councillors, negotiators, committee members, adults, and youth that would like to share their stories/perspectives about the establishment of Thaidene Nene. Between 15 to 25 LKDFN members will likely be interviewed. The Community Researcher, Wildlife, Lands and Environment Committee (WLEC) or other designated committee, and the PI will identify potential participants/knowledge holders to be interviewed. Potential knowledge holders/participants will be contacted by telephone or in person by a member of the Research Team and invited to participate. Information and recruitment posters with Research Team contact information will also be displayed at central locations around the community (e.g., community hall, Co-op, First Nation’s Office). Interviews will likely last 60 – 90 minutes, be audio recorded (but only with participant’s permission).

The second set of interviews will document other Akaitcho Dene First Nations, Parks Canada, Environment and Natural Resources GNWT, and environmental NGOs such as Nature United, CPAWS, and Tides Canada roles in and perspectives on the establishment of Thaidene Nene. The purpose of these interviews is to shed light on how others can affect the creation of parks and protected areas in positive or negative ways, and how the process of creating new parks and protected areas can be improved in the future. Between 10 to 15 people will likely be interviewed. The Community Researcher, Wildlife, Lands and Environment Committee (WLEC) or other designated committee, and the PI will identify potential knowledge holders/participants. The PI, Wildlife, Lands and Environment Committee (WLEC) or other designated committees will identify potential participants, and subsequently be contacted by telephone or in person by a member of the research team and invited to participate. Potential participants will be contacted by email or telephone by a member of the research team and invited to participate. Interviews will likely last 60 – 90 minutes, be audio recorded (but only with participant permission).

Workshops: The community workshops/talking circles will be interactive and participatory events that emphasize knowledge exchange and creation. The first talking circle will focus on the review of the research purpose, questions, and objectives as well as methods (e.g., interviews, workshops, etc.) to finalize the research design. The second talking circle will focus on what Denésoliné self-determination means from LKDFN’s perspective. At the third talking circle, information gathered through interviews will be shared with participants and used to generate additional discussion and stories. Participants will also be invited to co-interpret the knowledge gathered from interviews. Workshops will be an opportunity to share preliminary results and interpret the research collectively.

On the land activity: The third research activity involving LKDFN will be an on the land activity to be determined with the LKDFN research team. The purpose of the on the land activity is to strengthen and celebrate connections with Thaidene Nene, each other, and the community.

The PI will provide the Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation with written progress reports on a quarterly basis or when a major component of the research is completed. This written report will be submitted to the First Nation's Lands Manager and the research team.

The PI will provide each interview participant with an electronic and/or printed copy of their transcript. The audio recordings and transcripts will also be uploaded and stored in the First Nation's web-based Denesoline Knowledge Archive.

The audio recording of all workshops/talking circles will also be uploaded and stored in the First Nation's archive.

Findings from this study will be presented to the Department of Natural Resources, Government of the Northwest Territories, and Parks Canada in order to engage the establishment and management of parks and protected areas that are mutually beneficial co-governance arrangements for the Indigenous, federal, and territorial governments.

Through ongoing discussions with the community, innovative and culturally appropriate ways of sharing the knowledge generated through this study will be identifies along with ways to mobilize knowledge to affect positive change.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from February 26, 2020 to June 30, 2020.