UBC Theses and Dissertations
Gitxaała sovereignty : indigenous governance and industrial development Laforest, Marie-Élise Carmel
This paper discusses how Gitxaała governance and law inform perceptions of, and responses to, resource extraction and industrial development within laxyuup Gitxaała, the traditional territory of Gitxaała Nation. As argued, the Nation’s interest in maintaining its primary authority over decision making processes related to development is rooted in a greater desire for increased recognition and respect of its unextinguished rights and title—its Aboriginal sovereignty—under Canadian Law. Significantly, Gitxaała Nation's assertion of sovereignty is founded upon the continuation of a governance system intrinsically tied to the Nation's active engagement with the territory, and the harvest of the resources found therein. Gitxaała Nation's perceptions of, and responses to, development are therefore best understood from the vantage point of its desire to uphold Gitxaała laws (ayaawx), oral history (adawx), and concept of inheritance (gugwilx'ya'ansk) in the practices of territorial management. It is this relationship of interdependence between Gitxaała Nation and its traditional territory that forms the basis of the Nation’s understanding of what it means to be Gitxaała.
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