UBC Theses and Dissertations
Of moose and man : collaborating to identify First Nations’ priorities for cumulative impact assessment in northeast British Columbia McGuigan, Erin Kathleen
In northeast British Columbia, industrial development is proceeding at a rapid rate. While it is playing and integral role in the provincial economy, there is increasing concern that the cumulative impacts of this development may be causing environmental damage and potentially infringing on the unique rights of First Nations in the region. This project involved collaboration with the Treaty 8 Tribal Association and member First Nations to identify the concerns that should be addressed in a cumulative impact assessment. To minimize the pitfalls associated with imposing a research agenda and methods at the community-level, we took a community-based collaborative approach. Multiple interviews and archival research identified multiple concerns that extend well beyond the natural environment. For the purpose of guiding cumulative impact assessment, these concerns were broken down into six themes: land-based activities; human health; identity, culture and sense of place; access to financial benefits; power, rights and jurisdiction; and intrinsic value of nature. The inclusion of non-ecological values and the identification of concerns not assessed under regional resource management approaches emphasize the need to establish a means to include First Nations in the assessment of cumulative impacts. The diversity amongst the concerns identified by the communities and their capacity to participate in such a study highlights the need for an open and flexible approach to collaboration. Finally, the difficulties encountered during this project illustrate the need for both researchers and communities to proceed with care and caution when entering into collaborative research partnerships.
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