Engaging Community-Based Research Methods in Water Planning and Governance with First Nations

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The drinking water crisis impacting First Nations on-reserve is among the most pressing water policy issues in Canada today. All levels of government have a responsibility to engage innovative approaches to water governance that address this crisis and advance reconciliation. In this webinar, our guest speakers will discuss how Community-Based Research Methods (CBRM) can be applied to improve approaches to water management and governance with Indigenous peoples. Learn about the theory and principles of CBRM, the distinct and unique considerations that apply in an Indigenous context, and how governments can apply these methods in a municipal planning context. Through illustrative case studies, the webinar will explore how CBRM can provide guidance to municipalities interested in improving their relationships to First Nations with respect to current and future water planning initiatives.

About the Speakers

Rachel Arsenault is completing a master’s degree in Indigenous Relations at Laurentian University in Sudbury. She is fish clan from the Wiikwemkoong Unceded First Nation on Manitoulin Island (Mnidoo Mnising). Rachel also works as a research assistant for the Community-Based Research and Indigenous Research Methods working groups of the Decolonizing Water Partnership Project, and is a Policy Analyst for the Chiefs of Ontario. For her thesis, she is studying water insecurity in First Nations and the impacts on communities across the province. She recently collaborated with four colleagues on an article discussing the First Nation water crisis and potential best practices for working with Indigenous peoples, which was published online in the MDPI Water Journal: mdpi.com/2073-4441/10/1/49

Deborah McGregor joined York University’s Osgoode Hall law faculty in 2015 as a cross-appointee with the Faculty of Environmental Studies. Her research has focused on Indigenous knowledge systems and their various applications in diverse contexts, including water and environmental governance, environmental justice and sustainable development. Professor McGregor’s research has been published in a variety of national and international journals and she has delivered numerous public and academic presentations relating to Indigenous knowledge systems, governance and sustainability. She remains actively involved in a variety of Indigenous communities, serving as an advisor and engaging in community-based research. She recently launched a website on Indigenous environmental justice: iejproject.info.yorku.ca.

Nicole J. Wilson is a scholar of settler origin whose work examines Indigenous peoples’ relationships to water and water governance in the context of settler-colonialism and environmental change. She is committed to conducting Community-Based Research and has done so in partnership with a number of Indigenous governments and organizations in Alaska and Yukon. She is a post-doctoral fellow at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia. She is currently collaborating with Carcross/Tagish First Nation to develop strategies to implement their land claim and self-government agreements in a way that fulfills their sacred responsibility to respect and protect the waters within their traditional territory. Nicole holds an MS in Natural Resources from Cornell University and a PhD in Resource Management and Environmental Studies from UBC.

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