Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

William Quinton

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Miguel Sioui

Advisor Role



Across the Northwest Territories (NWT), Canada, Indigenous populations are striving to achieve effective environmental protection, whilst navigating complex methods, policies, and research relationships within co-management contexts. This thesis seeks to identify how differing cultural systems, environmental change, and fractured partnerships may be unified to align with the needs of the Sambaa K’e First Nation (SKFN), a remote Dehcho Dene community. Indigenous methodologies guided co-development of research questions with SKFN leadership which yielded objectives a) develop a GIS-based method to manage, organize and mobilize cultural and environmental data; b) develop a new stewardship monitoring procedure so that users can apply the former while ‘With The Land” (WTL), and c) test new methods developed in (a) and (b). A mapping rubric developed by the NWT Geologic Survey’s Thermokarst Collective (TKC) working group was expanded to include themes related to biological, cultural, and socio-political change. Interviews, focus groups, and participant observation directed the collection of 195 GPS-link observations which centered Dene perspectives of space and place. This thesis provides SKFN with an improved operational procedure for data collection as well as a functional social framework adapted for the organization of grassroots, community based, intergenerational knowledge exchange. This produced the praxis, ‘Mapping with the Land,’ where youth and Elders are united through cumulative impact monitoring and cultural revitalization, with the assistance of GIS. This aims to increase communication and understanding between local, institutional, and government actors by bridging gaps in research capabilities, local capacity, and recognition of Dene Law.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season