Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies (MES)

Department

Geography & Environmental Studies

Faculty/School

Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Alex Latta

Advisor Role

Co-Supervisor

Second Advisor

Dr. Miguel Sioui

Advisor Role

Co-Supervisor

Abstract

A steady shift in the environmental management literature encourages greater inclusion of traditional knowledge (TK) alongside Western science, much of it seeking to directly support Indigenous communities develop their own frameworks for environmental monitoring and stewardship. To date, little attention has been placed on research practices themselves as sites where interdisciplinary and intercultural work takes place to bridge between different knowledge systems and develop best practices for effective collaboration. Matawa Water Futures (MWF), the object of study for this thesis project, is a three-year water stewardship project involving Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers, environmental managers, and community interns, working with the nine member communities of Matawa First Nations in northern Ontario to establish a framework for water monitoring and stewardship based in Indigenous TK. Using ethnographic methods, this research addresses the shifts in ways of thinking necessary to bridge knowledge systems for environmental monitoring, the discursive practices mobilized around TK in relation to science, and the practical implications of these shifts in perception and discourse for efforts to establish Indigenous-informed approaches to environmental management. This research argues that the MWF project reflects a shift away from a hierarchical dynamic of power/knowledge towards a more horizontal space of interaction between Indigenous and Western knowledge, and to also assert Indigenous governance in relation to the environment.

Convocation Year

2023

Convocation Season

Spring

Available for download on Wednesday, January 18, 2023

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