Presentations & Proceedings

Abstracts, transcripts or links for conference proceedings and presentations given regarding Aboriginal Mapping, including conferences the AMN has hosted. If you would like to submit information about a presentation, contact us.

First Nations Cooperative Management of Protected Areas in British Columbia: Foundations and Tools

Julia Gardner
Dovetail Consulting

Ecotrust and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society-BC (CPAWS) co-hosted the second workshop on First Nations Cooperative Management of Protected Areas in BC on May 30th and 31st 2000 in Vancouver. This was a follow-up workshop to one held in November 1998 on the same topic. The first workshop highlighted some of the challenges with existing cooperative management agreements. The goal of the 2000 workshop was to find ways to make cooperative management arrangements work more successfully.

Using the elements of various arrangements that are working well, workshop participants were asked to discuss a set of principles or possible “best practices” that could guide and improve cooperative management of protected areas in British Columbia. These were set out in a background paper, Best Practices for First Nations Co-operative Management in Protected Areas. The themes were: Authority and Governance, Funding Cooperative Management Arrangements, Management Models and Approaches, Building Capacity Among First Nations, Tourism and other Economic Opportunities for First Nations, Cultural issues, and Interpretation and Partnerships with Non-government and Other Organizations.

This document is the second of two produced from the workshop. The first was a summary of presentations and discussions: First Nations Cooperative Management of  Protected Areas: A Summary of Discussions from the May 2000 Workshop (Gardner,2001). This second report is a significantly revised version of the background paper which incorporates the main points raised by workshop participants. While the contents have been reorganized and themes re-combined, all the topics addressed in the background paper are covered.

Reaching for New Perspectives on Co-Management: Exploring the Possibilities for Systemic Change and Indigenous Rights under the

Tara Goetze, Graduate Student, McMaster University

Submitted to Crossing Boundaries, the Seventh Conferenceof the International Association for the Study of Common Property,Vancouver, British Columbia. June 9-14, 1998.

In recent years, a spectrum of the theoretical and practical implications of co-management regimes has emerged, dominated by a particular scope of inquiry; co-management is often seen primarily from a resource-centred perspective. Certainly, ecological considerations are both useful and necessary. Yet the literature reveals a shared understanding that co-management is also about negotiating relationships between people with varying interests in, and varying degrees of authority over, the resource. So, the social and political dimensions of co-management have been recognized, but to a limited degree. In considering the significance of co-management, what might be called 'analytical reach' could be augmented. Using the Interim Measures Agreement (IMA) between the Government of BC and the Nuu-chah-nulth in Clayoquot Sound as an example, I suggest there is great value in reaching beyond the immediate resource-related issues to explore the broader significance and implications of co-management regimes as political, legal and social phenomena. This 'second level' of analysis provides important theoretical and practical insight into issues such as decentralized power-sharing, and indigenous rights.

Incorporating Analytical Reach into Co-Management Research
There is a need for a clearer consideration of the extensive political and social dimensions of joint resource management, and the issue of power-sharing, which 'effective' co-management not only requires, but creates, when it is successful. This is not to say that the ecological components are less significant, but that co-management is not singularly or even dominantly an ecological issue; using this approach, the ecological aspect of co-management is a catalyst, or a starting point, for addressing a spectrum of other social, political and legal issues. My aim is to 'reach out' and comment on the broader implications of this understanding from the perspective of recent research in Clayoquot Sound. The Interim Measures Agreement for Clayoquot Sound A key aspect of the IMA, the Central Region Board (CRB), is designed to oversee all land-use decisions in Clayoquot Sound. The Board, made up of equal numbers of Nuu-chah-nulth and local provincial appointees, reviews all resource use and development proposals and makes its decisions by consensus. Should voting take place, a 'double majority' clause comes into effect. As understood by Nuu-chah-nulth, this means that a majority of Nuu-chah-nulth as well as a majority of all CRB members is required for a decision to pass. In essence, this gives the Nuu-chah-nulth participants veto power. Only the provincial cabinet may overturn CRB decisions. If this occurs, the Central Region Resource Council, composed of Nuu-chah-nulth Hereditary Chiefs and cabinet ministers, would conduct a public inquiry into the decision, which the provincial government would rather avoid, given the inherent volatility of resource issues in Clayoquot Sound.

Co-management, Power-Sharing, and Systemic Change
Many researchers advocate the delegation of authority to local users, often indigenous peoples, under co-management. Suggestions include power-sharing, decentralizing control over the resource base, and self-government for First Nations. Pursuing these ideas beyond their ecological value by attaching their discussion to the wider political implications of power-sharing between indigenous peoples and the state presents co-management as a means to greater systemic changes. As an interim measure which allows the state to experience power-sharing in limited domain, and affords indigenous communities a degree of the autonomy they ultimately desire, co-management allows a period of adjustment or 'confidence building' for governments considering or negotiating claims for broader arrangements of self-governance for indigenous peoples. By introducing new forums for dialogue between Central Region Nuu-chah-nulth, government representatives, and other local stakeholders, the CRB has facilitated the creation of new and positive relationships within a structure of unique power-sharing between First Nations and the provincial government. For Nuu-chah-nulth whom I interviewed, this context of partnership is a significant shift from the state paternalism they have historically experienced. In addition, the CRB is being considered as a model for post-Treaty resource management at the ongoing Nuu-chah-nulth treaty negotiations. This continuity would certainly ease the transition to a post-Treaty environment in Clayoquot Sound, given the familiarity with the devolution of authority the IMA has made possible. Co-management and Indigenous Rights The ways in which co-management might address issues related to indigenous rights, often focus on the recognition of property rights as they relate to ownership or access to resources, and the authority over the resources that ownership confers. Evaluating co-management regimes from a 'rights-in-practice' perspective expands this discussion. Certainly, the recognition of indigenous rights does not necessarily result in those rights being exercised at the local level. Since many indigenous claims are based on claims to certain rights, it is relevant to assess how various forms of co-management address those claims. Furthermore, whether, and how, co-management agreements might 'transpose' internationally endorsed rights discourse to locally engaged rights-in-practice is worthy of consideration. In the case of the IMA, Nuu-chah-nulth make an important connection between the recognition, protection and exercising of their rights to the exercise of power that participation on the CRB and the presence of the double majority clause make possible. Nuu-chah-nulth feel the 'veto' power that double majority represents is key in providing the political leverage required to exercise their rights to self-determination and resource use and protection. Moreover, by sharing determinative authority with Nuu-chah-nulth in the decision-making process regarding resource use on their traditional territories, the IMA allows the Central Region Nuu-chah-nulth to exercise many of the rights recognized in the UN Draft Declaration on Indigenous Rights.

An augmented level of analysis is not confined to issues of systemic change or indigenous rights. The capacity of co-management to mobilize principles ofparticipatory, community-based development is also worthy of investigation. Ultimately, 'analytical reach', involves evaluating co-management as the means to much broader political, legal, economic, and social ends, and highlighting its potential as a promising institutional development for addressing indigenous claims within state systems.

Traditional Tenure among the Gitksan and Wet'suwet'en: its Relationship to Common Property, and Resource Allocation

Submitted to Crossing Boundaries, the Seventh Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property, Vancouver, British Columbia. June 9-14, 1998.

Leslie Main Johnson
Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB

Traditional tenure among the Gitksan and Wet'suwet'en peoples of northwest British Columbia connects people and land, with its subsistence resources, in a way which is neither a village commons nor individual private property. Gitksan and Wet'suwet'en society is divided into a series of corporate House groups (Wilp for the Gitksan and Yikh for the Wet'suwet'en) which own and care for a series of Territories and other resource sites. These Territories cannot be alienated or sold, but could be ceded in the feasthall (potlatch) as compensation for murder of the member of a different House. The House is headed by a Chief; the members of the House are matrilineally related, offspring of the women of the line. Each traditional village is composed of several Houses in two or more Clans, also called Phratries in anthropological literature.

In traditional times the Chief exercized control over the allocation of all of the resources of the territory; members of different Houses could only use the territory or its resources with his [/her] permission. The husbands of House members could use the territory of their spouse's House; they were providing for the children, who belonged to the House. Similarly, children of a man, who were not of his House because of Clan exogamy, could use his territory until they died. Intruders were warned, and if trespass persisted after warning, the trespasser would be killed. Strangers trespassing on and Gitksan or Wet'suwet'en territory could be killed with no warning.

Under this system, a relatively large number of people had rights to the resources of hunting/trapping territories, berry grounds, and fishing sites belonging to each House group. If the territories of a House group lacked certain resources, members would ask permission to harvest those resources on another territory. After the needs of the House members and their families had been satisfied, other people were granted permission to use the resources of the territory. This ensured that harvest levels and resources were monitored, and surplus from each territory could be made available to those who lacked sufficient on their own sites. The territory system functioned to allocate people to resources, monitor and conserve resources, and manage resources such as berry patches, which required periodic burning to maintain productivity.

In more recent decades, with the settlement of the Gitksan and Wet'suwet'en in year-round reserve villages or in towns, and with the encroachment of both private property and forest tenure systems, effective control and use of much of the traditional landbase has been compromised. The development of a logging economy and commercial fishing, along with various other types of wage employment and transfer payments have changed the direct economic relationship of Gitksan and Wet'suwet'en with their traditional territories.

House groups have made different responses to the threat to their territories posed by provincially-sanctioned logging plans and mineral development. Asserting effective control in the face of State and Provincial jurisdiction has been difficult, and has been pursued through various legal means, including the famous land-claims court case Delgam Uukxw vs. the Queen, and various logging injunctions and blockades. The ownership of fishing sites is still very strong, and many sites are intensively fished every summer. Allocation of catch at traditional fishing sites is first to House members and their families. The traditional pattern continues; once the needs of the owners of the site have been satisfied, other people can then fish the site with permission of the Chief. Relationships with other downstream users and with the Federal Government have been factors outside the local system which have influenced the health and viability of the Gitksan and Wet'suwet'en fisheries. In the past few years there has been a commercial inland fishery, including beach seining run by traditional chiefs in their own fishing sites. Although fisheries are largely still within the traditional system (if we ignore downstream users for the moment), spatial patterns of hunting and berry picking are more altered by roading, ecological change, and changes in settlement pattern and economic base of the people. The changes in the land base and its resources are at the heart of the extremely complex issue of unextinguished aboriginal rights on Provincial Crown Lands. In the wake of the Delgam Uukxw appeal, the province of British Columbia has been attempting to figure out how to overlay aboriginal land rights on its existing management and governmental structures. As it stands, issues of tenure and who has access to what resources are very much in flux. The Wet'suwet'en have been attempting to arrive at some notion of cumulative impact of development and land alienation on the traditional resources of their Territories with an eye to modifying development plans to conserve significant aboriginal resources (Marvin George pers. comm. 1997); with no resource base, aboriginal rights cannot be excersized.

The new economic importance of timber on the territories has the potential to generate an economic base in the future if the Gitksan and Wet'suwet'en people can obtain any real control of the resource. The present efforts of the Gitksan Lax Sk'iik clan also suggest the potential of House management to shape timber harvest on territories if cooperation between the Forest Service and timber license holders and the House group can be achieved. However, the site specific and limited interpretation that the Forest Service has given to aboriginal rights makes effective House participation in management difficult without Court Actions or civil disobedience to force serious consideration of aboriginal interest.

Where does House territory, which might be described as "traditional corporate property", fit in common property models? Is traditional Gitksan and Wet'suwet'en tenure best seen as a form of "common property", or some form of "private" ownership? In common with many of the common property regimes which have been described in the literature, it is a system of regulating access to bounded resources among a group of defined users. It is small scale, local, and traditional. It cannot be transferred or turned into some other sort of property or rights, and it is highly embedded in the social system.

Mapping for Communities: First Nations, GIS and the Big Picture

Quw'utsun' Cultural and Conference Centre, Duncan, BC
November 20-21st, 2003