The Role of Indigenous Local Knowledge (ILK) in Resource Co-management in the Mackenzie Valley, Northwest Territories, Canada
AuthorSam-Aggrey, Horatio Godfrey
This thesis examines the incorporation of Indigenous Local Knowledge (ILK) in the environmental governance regime in the Mackenzie Valley, Northwest Territories, Canada. In the Mackenzie Valley, the incorporation of ILK in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the regulatory processes is one of the distinctive features of environmental governance in the region. However, the depth of the use of ILK in the decision-making processes of the co-management boards established as a result of the Comprehensive Land Claims Agreements, is unknown. The broad objective of this study was to identify the role of the co-management boards in incorporating ILK in the natural resource management framework. This study included 14 semi-structured interviews with representatives from the co-management boards and the Tlicho government. I also reviewed the literature and documents evidencing the incorporation of ILK in actual project assessments and in mining Effects Monitoring programs. I conclude that the co-management boards provide extensive procedural opportunities for Aboriginals to volunteer ILK. These Boards have also instituted policies and guidelines outlining requirements for developers to consider ILK in various stages of the lifecycle of projects. These factors combined with Aboriginal representation on the Boards, and the facilitative role of Aboriginal governments, have led to an increased incorporation of ILK within and outside of the environmental assessment process. However, a critical examination of the programs incorporating ILK in the post EA phase shows a tendency among developers to choose aspects of ILK that are easily blended with Western scientific data points, lending credence to claims by some researchers that in many cases, ILK is used to fill gaps in scientific information, rather than used in its cultural or spiritual context, as an alternative way of knowing. In spite of these shortcomings, EA co-management system in Canada’s North is unique in considering Indigenous peoples’ knowledge systems in the environmental assessment and regulatory phases.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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