UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Secwépemc water governance : re-imagining water relationality Matthew, Melpatkwa


This thesis traces how Secwépemc people conceptualize and (re)imagine their relationships with water across the Secwépemc nation. Using a mixed method of qualitative knowledge through one-on-one interviews with relatives and Secwépemc community members I use a strength-based research approach that honours and upholds Secwépemc voices. I include Secwépemc voices of Elders, educators, and youth to share stories and visions of Secwépemc water governance across five Secwépemc communities (Cstélen, Neskonlith, Tk’emlúps, Simpcw, and Sexqeltqín). The Secwépemc value of k'wseltktnéws is used as a theoretical and methodological approach to explore Secwépemc water knowledge and relationality. I examine how settler-colonialism and capitalism impact and attempt to disrupt Secwépemc people and communities’ embodiment, care, and responsibilities to water. Additionally, I discuss how resource extraction practices and narratives shape Secwépemc water governance. This thesis enables Secwépemc people and communities to (re)imagine water governance through the value of k'wseltktnéws, Indigenous futurity, Indigenous feminism, and grounded normativity. This thesis opens up space to improve upon Secwépemc relationality to each other and to water so that our tellqelmucw, the people to come, are supported and able to live freely within Secwepemcul’ecw (Secwépemc land and waterways).

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International