UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The governance of forestland and resources in British Columbia : case study of Stellat'en First Nation Lee-Johnson, Eddison Benjamin


This thesis is a case study of the Stellaquo, citing some global examples. British Columbia's (BC) forestland and resources governance is studied by identifying which processes of devolution, combined with decentralization, are most suitable for the Stellaquo. The Stellaquo identified a model ideal for their self-government, which is a combination of its pre-contact traditional and hereditary governance structure with contemporary western government designs. The Stellaquo proposed tripartite governance with the federal and provincial governments, emphasizing that their self-government "must be at the center of managing consultation processes leading to extraction of resources, and possessing veto powers in determining who has access to their resources". The thesis is written in a manuscript based format with each chapter suitable for journal publication. Findings indicate Stellaquo's demand for a higher level of authority in governing forestland and resources in their territory. This proposal is because the Stellaquo evaluates the Indian Act model of governance as 'unsuitable', and characterized by domination and infringement approaches that colonial and post-colonial governments used, and continue to use against Aboriginal Peoples. The research discusses issues pertaining to empowering resource users, particularly Canada's Aboriginal Peoples or Indigenous peoples worldwide, who are utilizing property rights and collective rights theories for advocating equitable access and rights to territories. I utilized these theorems in support of Aboriginal Peoples' claim for ownership to traditional territories, as jurisdictions they have resided and governed before colonial contact. The thesis contributes to ongoing debates over identifying appropriate alternative resource governance policy approaches in BC. Each chapter describes the Stellaquo concerns and proposals for reforms in the governance of forestland and resources in BC. Finally, the thesis also complements research perspectives that relate to exploring adequate measures for institutional development of emerging First Nations governments, though I did not make these notions its main foci.

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