NGPRC Banner


Current to October 26, 2009

Paper Presentations

Aklavik H-Pylori Research and the Aklavik Health Committee

Archie, Billy, Chair of Aklavik Health Committee

This presentation will provide a community perspective on the H-Pylori study, including its organization, conduct, and impacts on local residents. It will overview what was done and what could be done differently in future, and how the research will contribute to decisions around health monitoring, treatment approaches, awareness, and case management in the community.

Managing the Research to Policy Process

Brock, David, Strategic Planning Analyst, Government of the NWT

The recent high volume of  major research projects and reports about the North (e.g., International Polar Year 2007-2009; ArcticNet 2004-2011; Arctic Climate Impact Assessment 2005; Arctic Human Development Report 2004) combined with wide-spread emphasis on northern political development, hellas heightened concern over the policy relevance of research.  One particular concern is that a lack of northern policy capacity is limiting the ability of decision makers to move from research to action.  Evidence from political science literature exploring research-policy relationships demonstrates that translating research results into policy options depends upon more than capacity.  Three predominant theories from this literature help to explain when and why research is relevant to policy making: the constructivist theory holds that research must be policy salient from the design stage onwards (Social Learning Group 2001); the networks theory holds that researchers must be active throughout the policy process (Haas 1989; Hall 1989); the knowledge type theory holds that research must convey knowledge about the consequences of a problem (Dimitrov 2006).  These theories are ‘necessary, but not sufficient’ conditions to ensure the policy relevance of research.  These theories are treated here as complementary, and are employed to test a representative sample of northern research to determine its prospective policy relevance.  If theoretical criteria are met, greater weight may be attributed to the argument that a lack of policy capacity is inhibiting positive research-policy relationships.  If theoretical criteria are not met, this does not necessarily detract from the need for improved policy capacity, but may cause researchers and decision makers in the North to consider a multivariate approach to improving policy making.

Whose Story is It and How Will it Be Told?

Chambers, Dr. Cynthia, University of Lethbridge, and Helen Balanoff, NWT Literacy Council, Yellowknife

Participatory action research (PAR) aims for social justice both in how the research is conducted and in the research outcomes. PAR aims to have local people become the experts and agents of the research agenda, rather than the “Other” and objects of research, as has been the case in traditional research approaches. In the North, indigenous communities want ownership of research: they want to initiate and set the agenda; accrue benefits from the research; use indigenous languages and voice to represent the knowledge; have the research authorized and validated locally; and hold researchers accountable to the communities. Northern researchers have used PAR in the North’s colonial context as a means to facilitate more symmetrical relationships and ensure local control of decision-making and results. But indigenous communities here still face numerous barriers to exercising their capacity to participate fully in all stages and aspects of the research: lack of basic research infrastructure; prohibitively high operating and travel costs, and complex and difficult linguistic terrain, compounded by institutional assumptions and related funding arrangements. A socially just state program for research – both in its processes as well as its outcomes – needs to recognize that how a people participate in the world in which they dwell is knowledge, and their activities of participation are the knowledge practices generated within, appropriate to, and necessary for, that locale. It needs to provide the social conditions and institutional arrangements necessary to ensure meaningful and maximal participation of indigenous communities in research, particularly in their communities.

Resource Management and Social Change in Délįnę

Caine, Dr. Ken, University of Alberta, and Walter Bayha, Sahtu Renewable Resources Board

This conference paper explores how socio-cultural and political practices enable people to become institutional bricoleurs in resource management. From Deline, NT, I explore how outside resource managers from federal and territorial governments, environmental non-government organizations and aboriginal community leaders perceived, negotiated, and practically applied on another’s diverse understandings of NRM. This research is based on my active working group participation in two locally-driven collaborative projects: the Great Bear Lake Watershed Management Plan (GBLMP) and the long term protection of an Aboriginal cultural landscape for Saoyú-Ɂehdacho (Grizzly Bear Mountain Scented Grass Hills National Historic Site).Within these cases of emergent community based co-management, and ethnographic approach was pivotal in exploring new approaches to NRM arising from the dynamic relations between local and outside institutional actors. Recognition and incorporation of the notion of difference and practice establishes a space for potential positive social change. I suggest that the term ‘practical understanding’ encapsulates how communities and outside agencies together perceive NRM. The significance of this perspective of NRM is that it offers a cultural framework with which to explore institutional hybridity. Such a framework requires an examination of the ways in which we perceive, conceive, and actively apply culture and power relations in resource management planning that is predominated by the increasingly globalized nature of natural resources.

No Justice on Stolen Land – Innu Resistance to Extinguishment of their Land Rights

Cassell, Elizabeth, PhD Student, Essex University, England

In my paper I shall analyse and explore the social consequences of the dealings of the Federal and Quebec Governments in the exploitation of traditional Innu land in Northern Quebec and Labrador.  Based on archival research and a series of 48 interviews carried out for the Band Council of Matimekush, I shall seek to demonstrate that the hunter gatherer culture and lifestyle remains an integral part of the lives of the generations who have been compelled to settle in Matimekush Lac John since 1960 when the town of Schefferville was founded on the discovery and exploitation of iron ore.  I shall  explain the refusal of the Band Council negotiators to enter into any treaty which requires the extinguishment of their land rights and discuss the ways in which the governments have embarked on a strategy of granting rights over the Matimekush lands to neighboring peoples so that these peoples can give the necessary permissions to exploit the disputed land.

Indigenous Peoples and the Politics of Recognition

Coulthard, Glen, University of British Columbia

Over the last 30 years, the self-determination claims of indigenous peoples in Canada have increasingly been cast in the language of “recognition”: recognition of Indigenous cultural distinctiveness. Recognition of an Indigenous right to land and self-government, recognition of the right to benefit from the development of Indigenous territories and resources, and so on. In addition. The last 15 years have witnessed a proliferation of scholarship which has sought to flesh-out the ethical. Legal, and political questions that these claims tend to raise. Some have suggested that this synthesis of theory and practices has forced the state to re-conceptualize the tenets of its relationship with Aboriginal peoples; whereas prior to 1969 federal Indigenous policy was unapologetically assimilationist, now it is couched in the vernacular of “mutual recognition”. In the paper proposed here I will examine the relationship between recognition and Indigenous self-determination in the NWT in light of policy developments from the Dene Declaration from 1975 to the present.

Integrating Indigenous Decolonization Philosophy into Educational Research

Emerson, Larry

We all carry within us a compassionate and loving promise to our communities. How we know and experience both the modern and non-modern world can be guided by research methods that privilege the capacity of Native traditional knowledge to drive transformative change. Tribal creation stories and vision can inform and shape how we integrate decolonization theory and practice with educational research. The benefit? Cultural self-determination, meaningful change, and emancipation.

Intergovernmental arrangements for program and service delivery in a post-self government environment: A discussion paper

Everts-Lind, Owen, Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations, GNWT

As the GNWT, Canada, and Aboriginal governments negotiate self-government agreements, the parties must consider potential inter-governmental arrangements for program and service delivery that could exist in a post-self-government environment.  In legislative areas where the GNWT and Aboriginal self-governments will have concurrent jurisdiction, there may be a number of potential options for the delivery of programs and services to residents.  Although not advocating any one option, the options range from joint delivery through an inter-governmental services agency to separate delivery through parallel systems or institutions.

Inter-governmental services agencies could be established before self-governments enact legislation, to allow for capacity building and a more gradual transfer of program responsibility to an Aboriginal government, or they may be more permanent institutions designed to integrate the delivery of services by two levels of government on a longer term basis.

Despite having many direct and indirect benefits, including capacity building, gradual transition to full responsibility for program and service delivery and building lasting partnerships between the GNWT and Aboriginal governments, IS agencies may also serve to postpone the hard issues and true costs surrounding the full implementation of self-government.

This discussion paper is intended to investigate the potential use of intergovernmental services agreements (ISAs) and intergovernmental services (IS) agencies in the implementation of self-government, discuss emerging GNWT principles and interests in relation to the use of ISAs and the creation of IS agencies, and identify factors for consideration in relation to IS agencies, including advantages, drawbacks and financial implications.

What Tuullik has to tell us: Tracking the Yellow-billed Loon from the North American Arctic to its winter lands, and monitoring the poisons it finds at both latitudes.

Fair, Jeff, Adjunct Biologist, BioDiversity Research Institute

The rare yellow-billed loon (Gavia adamsii), also known as Tuullik among the Inupiat and Inuit from Barrow to Cambridge Bay, has recently been found by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be warranted for listing under the Endangered Species Act.  Population estimates throughout its holarctic breeding distribution will be reviewed, along with pertinent ecological factors.  Our work (U.S. Geological Survey, USFWS, BioDiversity Research Institute, and myself, in cooperation with the Canadian Wildlife Service) to capture, mark, and obtain blood and feather samples will be described and illustrated, including a newly developed technique for loon capture.  Results of satellite marking from Alaska’s Arctic and Canada’s Victoria Island 2003-2009 will be shown and discussed in the contexts of genetic sharing, distinct populations, and the likelihood of two separate migration routes and wintering areas for Canadian yellow-bills.  Blood and feather sample assessments including methyl-mercury loads and other toxins will be discussed regarding site of origin (breeding grounds and either of two wintering areas) and how these reflect toxin loads in Native foods including loons and fish.

Listening to Our Youth Listen to Our Elders: Can Participatory Video Research Create Space for Youth Participation in a Sustainable Future?

Freeland-Ballanyne, Erin, PhD Student, Oxford University

This paper reflects on the lessons a youth-led participatory video research project in Fort good hope, NT. With a member of the Youth Video Research Team, the process and outcomes of a two year research process details how youth involvement in carefully negotiated relationships can lead to increased youth participation in community governance and enhanced learning from Elders. The paper details challenges faced by northern youth as they attempt to participate in a healthy future and insights provided by the research into processes that can improve youth and youth-elder participation in governance and community decision making and policy. The paper details challenges felt by youth in the community to ‘have a voice’ and reflects on what role research can play in supporting youth capacity in governance in the north.

Tłįchǫ Values and Policy

Gibson, Dr. Ginger, Tłįchǫ Community Services Agency

Policy work in the Tłįchǫ region has been informed by research into values and practices of Tłįchǫ ancestors. For the past two years, Gibson has been working with a team of researchers in the Tłįchǫ Government and the Tłįchǫ Community services agency to analyze stories, songs and history of the Tłįchǫ and apply values, principles and practices to modern governance. As an example the research team has interview elders held three day long meetings with Elders. Interviewed social workers youth and families to surface practices of child rearing and child care. These practices. Values and principles are being used to guide the development of guidelines for Child Apprehension as well as develop the material needed for Tłįchǫ Government legislation in the are of Child and Family Services.  As another example. The Tłįchǫ also endeavored to create agreements with mining companies in the spirit of past agreements modeled on the principle of reciprocity.  Examples of policy outcomes that have been based in research in the communities will be presented as well as the challenges and struggles of articulating policy within and for a newly emerging indigenous administration.

Research Needs in an Indigenous Government

Keith, Jennifer and John B. Zoe, Tłįchǫ Government

Daily research needs emerge with respect to implementing the Tłįchǫ Agreement. However, there are no staff members allocated to this task. One primary concern of the Tłįchǫ Government is the development of administrative routines and procedures. While these might at once seem mundane details, the wholesale adoption of western procedures for managing staff and administration has proven a challenge.

Implementing the Gwich’in Claim through Heritage and Traditional Knowledge Research

Kritsch, Ingrid (MA) and Alestine Andre (MA), Gwich’in Social and Cultural Institute

Following the signing of the Gwich’in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement (GCLCA) in 1992, the Gwich’in Social and Cultural Institute (GSCI) was established by the Gwich’in Tribal Council to “document, preserve, and promote the practices of the Gwich’in culture, language traditional knowledge and values”.  Over 50  research projects, many of the m multi-year have been carried out since 1993 by two anthropologists on staff with GWCI in collaboration with Gwich’in elders, youth and community steering committees in the Gwich’in Settlement Region, plus heritage professionals and graduate students in the fields of cultural anthropology, archaeology, ethnobotany and linguistics. The foundation of GSCI research has revolved around the study of place names, oral history and traditional land use with the goal of building an inventory of heritage sites in the GSR. This research has helped fulfil the mandate of the institute and implement the land claim.

Dene Moose Hide Tanning and Wellness

Kurszewski, Denise (MEd), Research Director, Institute for Circumpolar Health Research

This paper will provide an overview of the results of a research project piloted a  moose hide tanning camp in cooperation with the Gwich’in Tribal Council, on the Mackenzie River south of Inuvik during July 2007. Its intent was two fold: to document techniques and technical knowledge of tanning moose hide by hand according to a Dene method; and to pilot a new approach to community based research where the primary form of results documentation was in an increase in the embodied collective knowledge of the participants, Dene men and women, using Bourdieu’s (1977) theory of knowledge embodiment, this talk looks at ways Indigenous knowledge emerges through cultural practices such as tanning. The purpose of this approach was to determine whether the method contributes to strengthening individual and collective cultural knowledge, ultimately contributing toward self development and collective cooperation essential to the success of Indigenous efforts toward self determination. It will overview how the results and experiences of such research can impact capital planning project decisions of the Gwich’in Tribal Council.

Since 1921: The Relationship Between the Dehcho Métis and Canada

Lafferty, Albert, Fort Providence Métis Council

The Métis are known as the Forgotten People. In our area we are accepted as full members of the Dehcho First Nations by our First Nation Relatives. For purposes of negotiating a resource and governance agreement they accept us as equals. However Cnaada does not provide us with the same level of funding: even as we negotiate as full parties at the table,  we are not provided with funding equal to our First Nation partners. In an effort to press our case and raise awareness, we worked with a researcher to document our relationship with Canada, the character of which has been receiving recognition as indigenous when Canada wants to extinguish our rights, but receiving none of the benefits of such recognition. This talk will provide an overview of our publication Since 1921, which describes how our relationship with Canada has evolved, and makes a case for extending recognition of our rights as Indigenous people.

Community Based Policy and Guidelines: Research for Monitoring Wildlife and Habitat

Legat, Dr. Allice, Wek’èezhìi Renewable Resource Board and Researcher TBC

Under the Tłįchǫ Agreement. The Wek’èezhìi Renewable Resources Board is mandated to collect and use traditional knowledge. We are currently discussing the possibility of community based monitoring in each of the Tłįchǫ communities. This paper explores the steps taken by the WRRB to establish policy for designing a collaborative traditional knowledge research program for monitoring wildlife and habitat and will also explore the resulting policy and guidelines for framing in the research. Most significantly this presentation  will focus on the role of harvesters and elders 1) in the design of the policy; 2) in the research framework; and 3) in identifying concerns and suggested solutions associated with both the policy and the research priorities.

Securing our place in Northern society: Women, global industries, and the power of stories.

Little, Lois, Lutra Associates, Yellowknife, NT

This research is a critical examination of the lives and future of women in the Northwest Territories (NWT). Through conversations with 23 indigenous and non-indigenous women active on social justice and women’s issues in the NWT, the solitudes, isolation, and vulnerability of northern women are illuminated. These circumstances characterized our colonial past and, through the increased presence of global resource industries, become entrenched as our future. Northern women seek security, safety, and equality but the fast and efficient forces of global resource industries contribute to attitudes that diminish the place of women and our interests. Given the existing uneven circulation of power in gender and racial relations, northern women must be courageous, conscious, curious, and connected in order to secure an equal and valued place in the NWT in the 21st century. Northern women take hope for the future from exceptionally skilled and determined indigenous women, the power of stories, and the potential to erase old boundaries, work together, and support each other to manage the effects of global resource industries. The research points to opportunities for women in every sphere of society and stories are a conduit for women to work together to capture these opportunities.

Speaking Plainly about Research, Governance and Policy for Sustainable Living

Malcolm, Dr. David G., PEng, CMC

There are challenges to sustainable living in the North, including dependence on non-renewable resource development, dependence on financial support from government with or without land claim agreements, and dependence on sources of goods and services in the areas of health, environment, business, and technology that are far from our remote communities. These dependencies impact all aspects of human security and livelihood in the North. Other challenges include adapting to climate warming and its impacts on the environment, and on traditional ways of life and work. In a sense every northerner who wishes to live in a sustainable way must become an entrepreneur, and must seek ways to become as free as possible from the areas of dependency. Although the emphasis in the paper is on northern Canada, the ideas put forth apply to other circumpolar countries to some extent.

There is a large volume of southern research knowledge available to inform governance and policy for many aspects of sustainable living in the North. The challenge is to find the knowledge that is relevant, and to make this knowledge available to community-based researchers and directly applicable to northern communities in practical plain language. The paper makes a beginning, describing the importance of living in a sustainable way in the North, and zooming in on some research knowledge that impacts governance and policy for sustainable living in northern communities, making it relevant and practical.

Aboriginal Roundtable: Total Participation in Multi-Stakeholder Research Processes

Martin, Alice, Head of the CEMA Aboriginal Roundtable; Peter Fortna, Resource Person, CEMA Aboriginal Roundtable, Fort Chipewyan, Alberta

The Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA) is an organization mandated to “study the cumulative environmental effects of industrial development in the region and produce guidelines and management frameworks.” It represents a wide range of “stakeholders” though it has always had had a tumultuous relationship with its Aboriginal members who have felt that their opinions were not  taken seriously. This relationship came to a head in 2008 when a number of First Nations withdrew from the organization due to what they felt was a lack of meaningful engagement. Late in 2008, CEMA initiated an Aboriginal Roundtable (ART) which was tasked with conceiving of a new role for Aboriginal people in its organization. At the end of the ART’s first meeting, they agreed to a mission where they would work to facilitate the “TOTAL PARTICIPATION of Aboriginal people in CEMA.”

CEMA is an organization meant to facilitate research and policy development to address cumulative effects of industrial development in the Athabasca Oilsands region. Aboriginal Roundtable speakers will consider how Aboriginal people can totally participate in “multi-stakeholder” organizations to have their research needs met? They are also particularly interested in hearing about other people’s experiences working in the co-management organisations of the NWT, and hope the meeting will provide an opportunity to exchange ideas about how to manage natural resources in culturally appropriate ways.

Community Consultation and Governance Implementation

Mills, Stephen J., Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, Old Crow, Yukon

This talk will overview the requirements for community based research and how it invariably must be intertwined with community based consultations. In rights-based agreements such as self-government agreements, program choices must be made that both conform to agreement provisions and that meet the expectations of community members. Often the motivation for negotiating self government sees the need for changing current government programs as a main concern.  This presentation overviews some of the challenges of implementation negotiators face when such research needs are restricted by funding policies and priorities of governments with whom Indigenous peoples are negotiating.

Call and Response : The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Dänojà Zho Culture Centre: A Canadian First Nation Statement of Cultural Presence

Neufeld, David, Yukon & Western Arctic Historian, Parks Canada with Georgette McLeod, Traditional Knowledge Manager, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in

Canada’s tolerant multi-culturalism subsumes cultural, social and religious difference within a dominant state narrative. The meaningful representation of Indigenous peoples has proven problematic in this state narrative. This paper describes a call for inclusion from a First Nation cultural centre.

A call and response ceremony is a formal structure of meeting and offering control of the possibilities of initial misunderstanding. Call and response allows the ascertaining of intentions and fosters good, or at least unambiguous, relations. The call and response, as a part of dance, as a way of removing ambiguity, was, and remains, more than a diplomatic nicety, it is in fact a philosophical fundamental of Athapaskan culture.

Indigenous peoples have long privately, and publicly, contested the national story and forwarded their own narratives of meaning, sometimes in a fight for freedom (through courts and public protest) and sometimes as a fight of freedom (working in their community without reference to the limitations of colonial laws) [James Tully]. The Indigenous fight of freedom in Canada generally works towards the fulfillment of three objectives:

  • respect for their existence as distinct peoples,
  • opportunities to live their cultural identity, and
  • meaningful engagement with their newcomer neighbours.

This paper focuses on aspects of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in fight of freedom, the Dänojà Zho (Long Ago House) Culture Centre in Dawson City, Yukon – a call waiting for a response.

Inuit Governance

Price, Jackie, PhD Student, University of Cambridge, Scott Polar Research Institute

My research interest focuses on Inuit expectation for governance in Nunavut. While much academic and political interest on governance has largely focussed on the full experience of Nunavut (from articulation, negotiation, ratification to implementation) this research understands governance as a reflection, and expression, of the relationships between people and place, or for the purposes of this research, Inuit and homeland.  Understanding governance as a relationship between people and place anchors this research as it seeks to engage with global governance debates, particularly Indigenous Governance & Arctic Governance debates.  While the personalities of these debates are important to explore and consider, more importantly, these debates provide an active forum to consider how Inuit governance can be regenerated to engage with the highly globalized governance challenges facing Inuit in Nunavut. To begin the debate on Inuit governance regeneration, I argue that a central function of Inuit governance is consistency in method.  In order to explain the importance of consistency in method, I will look towards Inuit wayfinding knowledge, strategies and experience as an expression of consistency in method within different forums. This research will also orientate itself from the experience of the Inuit settlement, as it is the place that connects the extreme and dynamic political landscapes of Inuit – homeland and global world.

“Take it from the Top”: Northern research for Northerners, and Southerners too.

Robinson, Suzanne (MAdEd), Instructor – Inuvik Learning Centre, Developmental Studies,  Aurora College – Aurora Campus, and Youth participants TBC

The North has long been an object of study. This project allows Northern students and community members the opportunity to contribute their too-often absent voice to Northern and Southern Studies.  “Take it from the Top” is a collaborative film research project that uses community-based participatory action research to capture the North more fully than text can.  This film series made by Northerners for Northerners, is not limited by words in a textual vacuum, but comes directly from the source. The series looks at the South from a Northern perspective in a lighthearted equitable turning of the tables.

In western culture print is often considered the ultimate repository of knowledge and research. Oral culture is not only words said but gestures made, where nuance and facial expressions provide essential context for the words being relayed.  Research relies mainly on text when other forms of communication may be a better tool in the North. Northern communities are not waiting for research reports: rather they are waiting for engagement and dialogue. Video is a path towards communication; it allows for more ideas and voices to be shared and heard by more people. Researchers concerned with practical reciprocity should consider video as a primary research tool. This paper will focus film as a research tool, and highlight the student researchers’ perspectives. Modern technology has brought video to the masses: it can do the same for Northern research.

“We Need Good Energy,” Working Together to use our Resources in a Good Way

Ruttan, Lia, University of Alberta and M. Heron, Fort Smith

Northern resources include lands, water, plants, and wildlife but they also include youth, families, communities and elders and the relationships and stories that connect people within and across communities. Good governance policy and good research must take place within this wider context. Without taking in the background, both cultural and historical, and thinking from within this framework, policy initiatives will simply repeat past mistakes. Without acknowledging the impact of these failed efforts trust is not possible. Elders indicate that returning to proper relationships with each other, with agents of governance and with environment are essential before continuing in any environmental or human resource policy efforts.

Climate change, sustainability and urbanization in Canada’s Eastern Arctic: Lessons for policy makers

Sabin, Gerald, PhD Candidate, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto

This article relates the concepts of “urbanization” and “sustainability” to policy research on land-use and development policies in Nunavut. It argues that this research is rooted in eurocentric understandings of sustainability and the urban form, and that policy makers should adapt their work to recognize and reflect the importance of a culturally appropriate built environment to local indigenous (Inuit) populations. The author begins by constructing an historic account of the urbanization process in Iqaluit, Nunavut, and draws upon policy and academic literature to develop a model of urbanization specific to the eastern Canadian Arctic. After surveying the impact of climate change on Arctic communities, a typology of sustainable development policies is presented. The author examines the eurocentrism underlying these types, and introduces the concept of socio-cultural sustainability as a necessary component of urban sustainability regimes operating in indigenous communities. To illustrate these points, this article uses the case of Iqaluit’s Plateau subdivision which was designed using “sustainable best practices,” and was the first example of its kind in the Canadian north. Finally, the author presents a series of lessons for policy makers and researchers on how to realize a culturally appropriate vision of urban sustainability in Nunavut.

Nunavik (Northern Quebec) Public Governance Project

Savoie, Donat (Nunavik Government Agreement – Federal Chief Negotiator) and J.-F. Arteau, Makivik Regional Corporation

A) NUNAVIK SELF-GOVERNMENT:  On December 5, 2007, an important agreement was signed in the Quebec National Assembly on the establishment of an autonomous regional government in Nunavik. The agreement was signed by Pita Aatami, President of Makivik Corporation, the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (Chuck Strahl) and the Premier of the Province of Quebec, Jean Charest.  This agreement fulfill the long standing dream of regional government within Nunavik.  It will create the first regional government in Quebec, and will provide considerably greater powers to the Inuit communities of the region.  The new government will be a public government, representing all citizens of Nunavik (90% Inuit and 10% non-Inuit).  The presentation will focus on the historical background of this innovative self-government project, describe the principles and main elements of the proposed Nunavik Government and Assembly and will present the process through which the negotations took place.  This includes an innovative step that the Inuit put forward, i.e. the creation of a Nunavik Commission that provided the VISION and PRIORITIES of the Inuit in the development of this new form of government (for more information:

B) NUNAVIK RESEARCH CENTRE: The presentation will also focus on the creation of the Nunavik Research Centre established 25 years ago by Makivik Corporation, in the midst of the implementation of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement signed in 1975 by the Inuit, Quebec and Canada.  Since that time, the Inuit have made major efforts to develop a modern research centre.  It is now a first-class research centre located in Kuujjuaq, regional capital of Nunavik, and carries on research on environmental questions, environmental health, food security and sustainable living.  The Centre is composed of several professionals including the first Inuit biologist Barry Ford who graduated from McGill University, and technicians.  The Centre was very active in the International Polar Year in carrying research and received major funding.  On June 4, 2007, the Centre received the GOLD AWARD of the Canadian Environment Awards in the Environmental Health category.

Understanding Ourselves Through Language

Tatti, Fibbie, Délįne and Yellowknife, NT

This talk provides an overview of the importance of Dene language in understanding Dene culture and knowledge which is so often the information that researchers arriving in our communities are seeking. However such understanding takes a long learning process of translating the Dene language concepts into ones that can be properly understood in English.  I will discuss how Dene language has knowledge that is important to use in understanding what researchers are seeing when they come to Dene communities.

Inuvialuit Self Government

Teddy, Vince, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Tuktoyaktuk, NT

The Inuvialuit self government negotiations have spawned various research projects over the last decade, in the 8 Inuvialuit communities. All of the information gathered has been an experience of understanding Inuvialuit culture and values from different perspectives. Under self government we will be challenged to apply that knowledge in providing government programs and services in our communities. This talk will highlight challenges and successes with that task.

Connections of Cosmology to Agreements: A Tłįchǫ history

Zoe,  John B. (LLD), Executive Officer, Tłįchǫ Government

The Tłįchǫ people negotiated a land claim and self-government agreement, titled the Tłįchǫ Agreement, with the Governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories, in effect since August 4, 2005. The agreement builds on Tłįchǫ perspectives of language, culture and way of life, while achieving recognition of land and resource ownership and a governance system. To understand the Tłįchǫ, the Agreement and the negotiations, one must understand the historic perspective of the Tłįchǫ worldview, which is based on the traditional view of co-existence, respect, collectivity, representation and recognition. The Tłįchǫ worldview is also grounded on the requirement to prepare the next generation to ensure the continuance of those perspectives. In the historic Tłįchǫ world, there is no written language. However, there is an oral history that serves as an intergenerational communication system, embedded through place names on the land.

Healing Wind and CART: Community Action Research Team

Zoe-Martin, Cecilia and Anita Daniels, Jennifer Naedzo, Leone Lafferty and Cody Mantla. Tłįchǫ Community Action Research Team

The Tłįchǫ Community Services Agency has created the Community Research to Action Team (CART), five young Tłįchǫ adults, whose job is to promote community well-being and unity though research-based programs and services. Our goal is to integrate Tłįchǫ values as we address factors that influence community well-being. Governance is the key theme that integrates the network of emerging issues such as addictions, nutrition and sexual health. We define governance broadly, including independent/personal responsibility for action to shared community responsibility.

The four Tłįchǫ communities are engaged in the challenge of establishing self-government. Using Tłįchǫ values as a starting point, CART is addressing the need to promote positive behaviours that counteract lateral violence—malicious gossip and bullying and other disrespectful actions which can contribute to family violence and negative self-image. CART is addressing this with the guidance of community members, particularly youth and Elders. Specifically, CART is:

  • Engaging skilled Elders and youth as a unifying force within the communities during the transition to Tłįchǫ  self-government
  • Applying the knowledge gained from community focus groups about prevention of lateral violence to TCSA programs
  • Evaluating the effect of interventions as they contribute to positive self- and community- governance.
  • Developing a DVD that reflects community strategies for dealing with and preventing lateral violence

We welcome the opportunity to exchange ideas on strategies for programs and policies that promote good governance practices.

Workshop Abstracts

Drafting Effective Policy Instruments, a GNWT Perspective

Convenor, Alan Cash, Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet, and Assistant Deputy Minister, GNWT

Based on the premises that “policy” is a commitment to action and that policy instruments are essentially tools for problem solving, this interactive work-shop will involve participants in  discussions on positions, principles, policies and procedures and the importance of defining the problems to be addressed in policy; will examine the range of policy instruments extending from legislation to press releases and from MOUs to codes of conduct; and will attempt to identify critical elements of effective policy instruments including authority, accountability, mandate and commitment to a problem solving approach.

Youth Engagement in Research: Building the Next Generation of Northern Researchers

Convenor: Jennifer Dunn, MA Student, University of Ottawa

Youth in northern Canada are statistically less likely to graduate from high school, and therefore less likely to engage in higher education, than youth in southern Canada.  This ‘educational disengagement’ among northern Canadian youth is correlated with poorer health and social well-being (Davison 2007).  Youth in the North face unique educational challenges; school curriculum is often culturally irrelevant, resources for education (including internet access) are often scarce, educational opportunities are not well-advertised, and higher education generally requires moving thousands of kilometres down south.  These and many other factors combine to create an unbalanced situation where the majority of research carried out in the Canadian North is conducted by non-northerners.  Alienation between northern residents and outside researchers often leads to hostility and non-participation that hinders the research process and leads to misinterpretations.

The goal of the workshop will be to come up with strategies for inspiring northern youth to engage in education and pursue careers in academic research on northern issues.  Workshop participants will discuss possible ways to engage northern youth directly in their work: giving presentations to schools in communities where their research is conducted, recruiting northerner residents as research assistants, mentoring programs and participating in online forums with northern youth.  I propose that local youth be invited to join the workshop to share their views directly with conference participants.  The outcomes of the workshop will be several strategies and potential initiatives to facilitate northern youth engagement in research.

Mining Policy for Indigenous Governments

Convenor: Dr. Ginger Gibson, Adjunct Professor, University of British Columbia, Mining Engineering

  • Larry Innes, Executive Director, Canadian Boreal Initiative
  • Stephen Ellis, Lands and Environment, NWT Treaty #8 Tribal Corporation
  • Danny Gaudet, Deline Land Corporation
  • Anne Marie Sam, Nak’azdli Band Council

This workshop will focus on the policy needs of indigenous governments throughout the mine life cycle, beginning with exploration, construction, operation and during reclamation and closure. It will focus on specific national, provincial and territorial changes in policy that have recently occurred (such as the changes to the system of free entry in Ontario, the First Nations Recognition and Reconciliation Act, and future needs in federal policy on mining). Session participants will focus on what it takes to draft the critical elements of mining policy, how to gain First Nation buy in at the community and leadership level to new policy, and the process used to share policies locally and with companies and other governments. People from Lands and Environment Departments, in particular, are invited to attend this workshop, which will focus on bringing the experience of all attendees together on the questions.Questions that may also be treated through mining policies may be management of sub surface rights, sub surface tenures, among others.

Lessons from the Past:  Community Governance and Abandoned Mines in Northern Canada

Convenor: Dr. Julia Laite, Department of History, Memorial University, Newfoundland
Participants: Danny Gaudet, Orlena Modeste, Edith Modeste and Dr. Deborah Simmons

Hard-rock mining was most important activity that fostered the introduction of industrial development in northern Canada in the early twentieth century. Although the mines brought capital and jobs to underdeveloped regions, the costs of such development have become increasingly evident in recent decades. The former mine sites have left in their wake not only a toxic legacy of tailings ponds and waste rock dumps, but also a history of social and economic dislocation that continues to disproportionately impact northern indigenous communities. A team of researchers is initiating a three year program bringing together archival research and aboriginal community perspectives to understand how key lessons from past experiences of mines and their impacts can be brought to bear on decision-making about mine development in the present and future. The program spans case studies in the Yukon (Keno Hills), NWT (Port Radium, Giant and Pine Point), and the iron mining belt of Labrador West/Northern Quebec. This joint presentation will include an overview of the current Abandoned Mines program by Julia Laite, and a review of the Déline First Nation’s decade-long experience in researching and addressing the social and environmental impacts of Port Radium uranium mine by Danny Gaudet, Orlena Modeste, Edith Mackeinzo and Deborah Simmons – pointing to the abandoned mines research currently being planned by the Déline Knowledge Project.

Working Official Level Intergovernmental Relations

Convenor: James Lawrance, Director of Aboriginal and Territorial Relations, INAC

A roundtable cross-section of officials from the federal, territorial and aboriginal governments will discuss how intergovernmental working relationships, particularly at the officials level, can play a crucial role in supporting and guiding collaborative and innovative research and policy development.  How to make these  intergovernmental relationships more fruitful will be examined, leading to consideration of the research and policy implications in getting there and then moving beyond.  Crucial underpinnings of relations such as democratic process, reconciliation, Treaties and implementation, and territorial political and social development shape the subject. Through better relations all organizations achieve cost savings, avoid disputes and manage natural and human resources more effectively -  a daunting challenge when bridging the gap between community-regional-territorial interests while balancing the individual and collective rights embraced by our society.  Questions of how to achieve better understanding, shared practices and effective collaboration must be addressed to bring out ideas that will inform decisions for how governance institutions build and run their organizations to support common purpose and visioning by all our political principals.  Ultimately, the roundtable will have tested the idea that common purpose achieved through closer working level relations between governments can lead to more focused, objective and practical research on more consistent and complementary policy matters, resulting in more efficient and forward-looking decisions.

Follow-up workshops should dig down to the essential questions and examinations in building our relationship; from examining how we train our people to relate, to how we conceive of our relations; from sharing simple matters of how our offices are organized and the realities of how we each do our work day-to-day, to where we get our raw information.  Moving from transactional to relational in the way we work together will take both new understandings and new mechanisms.  Participants can question preconceived notions, address misapprehensions and deal with essential matters such as tolerance and trust.  Participants can then point the way for changes in each of their organizations to support better relations.

NWT Co-management Boards Research Agenda – Building Best Practices in a Regulatory Environment

Convenor: Bob Simpson, Chair, Gwich’in Land Use Planning Board

The Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act {The Act} was enacted in 1998 as a result of land claim agreements with the Gwich’in and Sahtu Dene and Metis and subsequently territorial boards and Tlicho Boards operate in accordance with the Act.  The Act created co-management boards and terms and conditions to regulate land and water use, environmental assessment and reviews and land use planning.  Cumulative Impact Monitoring and Environmental Audits were also included in the Act however no legislation or regulations were approved for a mechanism to manage these activities but program funding was approved on a year to year activity basis.

The Boards established through the Act have organized and carried out their activities in accordance with legislation and have developed policies, procedures and guidelines for effective implementation of their statutory responsibilities.  The Boards have also formed an association [All Boards Forum] that collaborates on research, development of best practices, and capacity and training initiatives.

Over the past two years there has been a growing criticism by government, industry and other stakeholders on the regulatory system in the north and in particular the Mackenzie Valley.  This criticism may be in part be a result of lengthy delays in a special environmental review of the Mackenzie Gas Project however the criticism has been taken very seriously by the Boards in the Mackenzie Valley.

It is not the intent of this presentation to air differences in opinions on regulatory reform but to present the internal initiatives of the Boards in the development of a unique integrated regulatory system that is objective and independent, efficient in processing development applications and effective in meeting the board objectives of integrated resource management and sustainable development.

  • Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board – Vern Christensen – Executive Director
    The Review Board is responsible for environmental assessment or review of development projects.  Generally the practice of this process of assessment or review is to provide government and regulatory agencies with sound objective advice on the environmental impacts of development.  The Review Board determines whether a proposed development is likely to cause significant impacts or significant public concern.  Accordingly, it recommends to approve, with mitigative measures if required, or not to approve the development.As part of their internal work the Board has developed guidelines for social economic assessments and is currently in the development of cultural assessments.  These guidelines will provide the Board or future Panels with a clear and objective means to analysis the development in relation to social, economic, and cultural impacts — a growing concern in Canada and the people of the north.  These guidelines are necessary with the growing need to apply a higher degree of science to the assessment or review of social, cultural an economic impacts.In addition, the All Board Forum has identified research priorities entitled “Consolidated Research Priorities:  A Publication of the Northwest Territories Board Forum, April 2009 that may be of interest to researchers.  The general view of the Board Forum is that research can generate much needed information to guide the decisions of the Boards and development of policies and procedures to improve the regulatory system.
  • Gwich’in Land Use Planning Board – Bob Simpson – Chair
    The Gwich’in Land Use Plan is the only land use plan that has been approved in the Mackenzie Valley under the Act.  The interesting regulatory application of the Plan is that all regulatory agencies must be in conformance with the Plan in the issuance of land and water authorizations.  The Plan allows for exceptions and amendments [also review the Plan every five years].  It has established a number of terms and conditions for regulatory agencies to build into their permits or licenses, very generally these are categorized in the following areas: General Use Zones – where development must conform to normal regulatory terms and conditions; Special Management Zones – where there are additional or special terms and conditions that should be addressed by the development application and included in a permit or license; Conservation Zones, including Heritage – where there is no development allowed.More recently during the first and current five year review the Board is developing a Plan of Action based on needs for future planning work.  The Plan of Action sets out a research agenda for the planning area and areas of work necessary for proper integrated and sustainable resource management.  Although the Plan of Action does not compel government, industry or regulatory agencies to do anything it does raise create an incentive to address the need for information about the land and its use and what is needed to ensure that development proceeds in an environmentally sound fashion.
  • Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board – Manik Duggar A/Executive Director, Kathleen Racher, Regulatory Director WLWB
    The MVLWB regulates land and water use and consists of members from the respective regional boards [panels].  The Board has also specific responsibilities to regulate land and water use that is transboundary [more than one land claim region] or where there are no regional boards established pursuant to a settled land claim agreement.  With this dynamic set up the MVLWB has established a strong working relationship with regional boards in the form of a working group to examine current practices up and down the Valley and identify any inconsistencies or gaps in documentation with a view of developing policies and procedures.  The policies and procedures will provide a greater level of clarity, certainty and consistency in the issuance of land permits and water licenses.

Research the Indigenous Way

Convenors: Dr. Deborah Simmons, University of Manitoba, and Walter Bayha, Chair, Sahtu Renewable Resources Board

The advent of residential schools meant that generations of young indigenous people in the NWT were brutally deprived of the opportunity to learn the language and skills required to contribute to the wellbeing of their family and community. Upon their return home, many of these individuals made a conscious decision to become researchers in order to recover what had been lost. During the 1970s and 1980s and into the 1990s, a number of programs provided a venue for them to learn the skills in linguistics, cross-cultural interpretation, social and cultural research, and curriculum development required for traditional knowledge research and education. The role of traditional knowledge was first systematically explored at the territorial level by the Traditional Knowledge Working Group chaired by Allice Legat, which had its roots in an informal group that began meeting in Yellowknife in 1986. After the collapse of the Denendeh land claim agreement in the early 1990s, the focus turned to more local research and policy development. This workshop will engage traditional knowledge practitioners in a dialogue about the evolving role of traditional knowledge as a basis for policy development and governance. The starting point will be a review and validation of key messages from reports on the 2008 and 2009 traditional knowledge practitioners workshops. The objective will be to share stories about challenges and best practices in traditional knowledge research with a focus on addressing changing institutional and economic contexts.  The outcome will be a plain language workshop report that can be included on the conference website and distributed among traditional knowledge researchers. People who may be interested in the workshop are traditional knowledge practitioners and decision-makers who are responsible for working with traditional knowledge.

GÚLÚ AGOT’I T’Á KƎ GOTSÚHɁA GHA: Learning about Changes:  Stories, Governance and the Délįnę Knowledge Project

Convenor: Dr. Deborah Simmons, University of Manitoba, Native Studies
Participants: Danny Gaudet, Jane Modeste, Edith Mackeinzo, Walter Bayha, Ken Caine, Christopher Fletcher, Dawn Ostrem

In 2001, the community of Délįnę began a process of partnership-building and strategic planning toward development of Délįnę Náoweré Dáhk’ə̀, the Délįnę Knowledge Centre. The  vision was for the centre to serve as a gathering of new and old knowledge to benefit everyone and shape the future. The mission was to respectfully understand, preserve, and share knowledge of the Dene environment to benefit all people past, present and future. Although the dream of establishing the Centre as a building has not yet been realized, the Délįnę Knowledge Project has been working since 2006 on a variety of research activities in culture, language, health and the environment. Running through all the research projects is the question of how traditional knowledge can inform policy and programs in the context of change. The challenge is embodied in the Dene language phrase that translates, “the words of our ancestors are our path to the future.” The focus has been on the role of storytelling as a vehicle for knowledge sharing and decision-making. This panel of Délįnę First Nation members and university resource people will examine the experience of the Délįnę Knowledge Project with an eye to its present and future role in community governance and land stewardship, the benefits and challenges of community- university partnerships, and the value of networking that has been made possible across scales – in the Sahtu Region, in the NWT, nationally and internationally.

Challenging Northern Governance: Public Policy in an era of Oil and Gas Development

Convenor: Dr. Gabrielle Slowey, York University, Department of Political Science

The potential for abundant natural resources and a changing climate, with resulting opportunities and challenges, are transforming Canada’s Arctic. It has become a focus of active economic and political cooperation and competition, and of scientific research. These changes however place great pressure on local peoples’ capacity to cope and on governments to respond to local needs. This workshop proposes to draw on recently conducted research across the Northwest Territories by members of the GAPS research team. Julia Christensen is a life long northerner who grew up in Yellowknife and who now studies at McGill University in Montreal. A Trudeau Scholar and doctoral candidate, her paper considers the challenges homelessness poses to people and government in the NWT. Alana Kronstal also hails from Yellowknife and her research concentrates on health care and addictions in the Beaufort Delta. A Master’s student at the University of Victoria, her paper identifies challenges in mental health policy and necessary policy implications. Finally, Gabrielle Slowey is a professor at York University who, along with her research assistant, Jessica Simpson from Whatì, NWT, has conducted community-based research in the Tuktoyaktuk, NWT and Old Crow, Yukon to assess the challenges of oil and gas pose to economic and political development in these communities. Focusing on the political and governance challenges posed to Aboriginal and Arctic communities in health, housing and economic development, this workshop aims to identify new governance challenges in light of a changing Arctic environment and to address policy relevant matters that, given the high level of community input generated, can influence governance policy decisions.

Sahtu Elders Workshop

Convenor: Norman Yakelaya, Sahtu Member of the NWT Legislative Assembly

The Sahtu region is comprised of five communities, namely Tulita, Délįnę, Colville Lake, Fort Good Hope and Norman Wells. We have about two hundred Elders in the region that are over 60 years old. Over the past five years we have witnessed a sharp decline in our Elders through the losses from various sicknesses and diseases. As part of the personal losses we have also noticed that a great deal of our knowledge have been lost. There are a few of the Sahtu people who have recorded some of the wisdom and knowledge of the Elders and are lucky enough to have kept the knowledge. However, I have been approached by the Sahtu Elders to have a workshop that can bring together Elders with specific levels of expertise in different aspects of Dene knowledge, in a workshop forum, to record their wisdom and knowledge and discuss how this type of knowledge can inform decision making processes and options.

These Elders will be from the Sahtu communities. Up to three Elders from each of the communities will be invited to participate in the workshop. The Elders will be accompanied by two Translators/recorders for interpreting the exact meaning of what they are saying. The Elders will choose a topic and in small and large groups, Elders will be given an opportunity to present their understanding on topics. There will be an opportunity at some point of the workshop for academics and Elders to discuss their different expertise on specific topics, and ask questions of each other.

The workshop will be designed for a high degree of participation. There will be opportunity for individuals to get to know Elders and have some time to meet one on one with Elders. The workshop will be based on the Aboriginal view of knowledge and the meaning of sharing this knowledge.