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"Water is Life" Indigenous Voices on Water Governance

Type: Paper
Theme: The Changing North American Continent
Sponsor Groups:
Organizers: Joanne Nelson
Chairs: Joanne Nelson


"Water is Life". Indigenous Voices on Water Governance

“Water Is Life” is the rallying cry made ubiquitous by the Indigenous stand-off at Standing Rock in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, which was the largest gathering of Native nations in over 100 years. Indigenous peoples assert that it is our collective responsibility to care for water a sacred gift that sustains and connects all life. Water is also central to many Indigenous cultures including origin stories, ceremonies, prayers, and cleansings. Despite the deep connection that Indigenous people have with water, our voices are often left out of decisions regarding water governance. Resurgence of Indigenous lifeways, including expression of Indigenous knowledge and laws challenge the ongoing settler colonial transformations of Indigenous lands (including waters) and our threats to this vital connection. This session will present papers on Indigenous water governance that center Indigenous voices, methods, and knowledge that seek to address ongoing water governance challenges such as the ongoing First Nations water crises in Canada and challenges to water brought about by ongoing climate change. The session will see paper presentations from student scholars and established scholars. After the paper presentations there will be a question and answer period.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Nicole Wilson*, University of British Columbia, Ha Kus téeyi (“Our Way”): Transforming water governance and climate justice through Indigenous legal orders 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Joanne Nelson*, University of British Columbia, Indigenous Water Governance and Traditional Ecological Knowledge 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Rachel Arsenault*, York University, Climate Change, Biodiversity, and Watersheds: How can we Identify and Address Gaps in First Nation Adaptation and Mitigation Efforts While Supporting and Promoting Existing Community-Based and Driven Climate Change Initiatives? 15 12:00 AM

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