Indigenous Water Governance and Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Authors: Joanne Nelson*, University of British Columbia
Topics: Indigenous Peoples, Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: TEK, Indigenous, water governance, water
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2020
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Plaza Court 8, Sheraton, Concourse Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The First Nations water crisis in Canada is a serious and ongoing issue that affects our very identity and survival. Everything is connected to water. Our languages, sense of collective self, territorial identity, ceremonies, mental health and hygiene. The crisis is also a matter of international embarrassment for a “developed” country such as Canada. Many studies have discussed the underlying reasons for this as well as proposed solutions. Traditional Ecological Knowledge has often been promoted as a key intervention and source of valuable knowledge to address many environmental concerns, including water governance. The objectives of this paper are to (1) to provide an overview of the landscape of state water governance in Canada for First Nations on-reserve communities as well as urban Indigenous peoples; (2) to provide a brief overview of TEK with a focus on water; (3) to present case studies for projects that have implemented TEK in environmental and water governance; and to (4) provide recommendations for future research in this important area.

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