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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Communicating the cultural values of a sacred mountain through collaboration with the Sts'ailes nation of British Columbia Kim, In Ae


This research provides communication strategies for First Nations and forestry agencies in British Columbia. I have used a community-based, participatory, and case study approach to conduct an in-depth study of conflict resolution between Sts’ailes, a Coast Salish First Nation located near Vancouver, and the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (hereinafter the Ministry of Forests). This study identifies the cultural uses of forest resources among Sts’ailes people and communication challenges central to the conflict, and suggests strategies that can help to achieve meaningful communication and collaboration between First Nations people and forestry staff. The ultimate purpose of this study is to explore cultural values related to forest management among the Sts’ailes Nation and to explore the dynamics of their communication process, focusing on Kweh-Kwuch-Hum, a sacred mountain located on Sts’ailes traditional land. This study asks how First Nations can make themselves heard when “speaking” about cultural values within the context of forest management. It describes Sts’ailes people’s ways of using and maintaining access to forestlands and resources. The cultural values of forest uses are important to the revitalization of the Sts’ailes way of life, cultural identity and well-being. Here, I focus on the case of a conflict over logging on Kweh-Kwuch-Hum and the resulting Policy Pilot Project (2008) to analyze the communication strategies used by both sides in the conflict. I demonstrate that both the Sts’ailes and the Ministry of Forests improved their communication strategies as they worked on the Policy Pilot Project together. My study confirms the theoretical framework that was used to address the invisible values of forests, and suggests that being proactive, promoting social learning, and having a conflict resolution protocol can facilitate more reflexive communication. I suggest that by linking Indigenous knowledge, one type of knowledge system, to multi-level governance, more meaningful communication and collaboration can be achieved. The findings highlight the relevance of a collaborative approach to the field, and provide a valuable lesson in forest governance systems, not only for Canada, but also for other countries where there are differences between statutory rights and customary rights.

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