Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

The Power of Place - Promoting Decolonizing Methodologies in Water Governance in the Salish Sea

Description

Alterations in water have significant implications for Indigenous peoples due to complex interconnections between environment, health, livelihoods and cultural well being. Indigenous peoples often express frustration with the inability to protect their complex socio-cultural relationships to water, in contexts where colonial forms of governance shape water rights and access. Yet, in spite of jurisdictional constraints, communities continue to engage multiple decolonial strategies aimed at protecting the waters within their territories. This paper analyzes community-based monitoring as one Indigenous water governance strategy. Specifically, I examine a transboundary case study of the Indigenous Observation Network – a community-based water quality monitoring network of Canadian First Nations and Alaska Native Tribes, coordinated by the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council – in the Yukon River Basin. Analysis of semi-structured interviews with water quality samplers from across the watershed and other program partners reveal that communities value the program as it provides trusted baseline water quality data. At the same time, improvements could be made to monitor additional parameters of local concern, increase the use of data in decision-making processes and improve the sustainability of program funding.

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Community-Based Monitoring as a strategy of Indigenous water governance

2016SSEC

Alterations in water have significant implications for Indigenous peoples due to complex interconnections between environment, health, livelihoods and cultural well being. Indigenous peoples often express frustration with the inability to protect their complex socio-cultural relationships to water, in contexts where colonial forms of governance shape water rights and access. Yet, in spite of jurisdictional constraints, communities continue to engage multiple decolonial strategies aimed at protecting the waters within their territories. This paper analyzes community-based monitoring as one Indigenous water governance strategy. Specifically, I examine a transboundary case study of the Indigenous Observation Network – a community-based water quality monitoring network of Canadian First Nations and Alaska Native Tribes, coordinated by the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council – in the Yukon River Basin. Analysis of semi-structured interviews with water quality samplers from across the watershed and other program partners reveal that communities value the program as it provides trusted baseline water quality data. At the same time, improvements could be made to monitor additional parameters of local concern, increase the use of data in decision-making processes and improve the sustainability of program funding.