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.

Reproducing Reciprocity or Fostering Hegemony? Cree and Whitemen's Views of Contemporary James Bay Cree Society and Economy

Harvey A. Feit, Prof.
Dept. of Anthropology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada

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

A few years ago I published a paper on the impacts of cash and commoditisation on James Bay Cree society and culture, and on the process of social reproduction in the context of the subsidization of hunting and the diversification of productive activities in Cree society. An increase in the demand for access to land, along with the payment of benefits to individuals or nuclear families, created conditions in which it has been thought likely that reductions in social reciprocity and mutual aid, and increases in inequalities and exploitation, would occur. I therefore examined five questions: 1) whether access to hunting territories became more restricted, or more monetized following the changes to social benefits; 2) whether social groups were altered in their composition; 3) whether conservation of wildlife resources was compromised; 4) whether exchanges of food were reduced; and, 5) whether inequalities among hunters increased? Overall I found no evidence that the potential for commensal group autonomy generally limited invitations and access to territories in new ways, or increased the acceptability of monetized access, or led to major changes in group composition, or reduced the viability of game populations, or that it led to any general abandonment of harvesting effort, or to reduced commitments to producing food for exchange (see Feit, 1991).

In this paper I examine whether the development of complex political and bureaucratic structures in response to self-governance and self-administration have led to the emergence of a Cree society in which hunting, subsistence, kinship, reciprocity and egalitarianism are not only changing but marginalized, or whether they are still central values and practices of daily life. For example, the implicit view of governments today is that Cree society is now composed of three distinct groups and two ways of life. One socio-economy is traditional and unchanging, practiced by the minority who are intensive hunters, and one is modernizing and developing, characterizing an elite of Cree administrators and by a more populous, but largely unemployed, youth. The latter sectors cling only in words to being different from other Canadians and Quebecers in this view. This is used as a powerful argument against Cree opposition to unregulated developments on their lands, and to counter their mobilization of public support in their efforts to limit or regulate such developments.

I think that Cree society is now no longer as homogeneous as it was, but hypothesize that sectors cannot be fully bounded, and that important linkages cross-cut the multiplicity of bases of authority and power within contemporary Cree society. In the summer of 1997, I worked with a team of Cree researchers to gather information on the participation of diverse Cree in hunting and land based activities, on their wildlife harvests, on the social linkages being reproduced in the more diverse context, and on work and income patterns. Extensive qualitative information on perceptions of both hunting and the need for job creation were recorded.

This paper willpresent the initial results of that research. On the basis of preliminary impressions from the analyses currently underway as this abstract is being written, I will examine the suggestions that: 1)hunting activities are very widely valued and participated in, but in very diverse patterns of land use and social affiliation; 2) that game harvest levels do not vary as much as might be expected among people with different patterns of involvement in wage labor and living on the land; 3) that even though the most intensive hunters' harvests are more modest than in the past, their land and game management skills are in greater demand as the number of hunters increases and the commercial transformation of the land grows - primarily under industrial exploitation; 4) the practical knowledge of the most intensive hunters,as well as the legitimacy of their claim to act in ways that protects the land and wildlife, are in greater demand as Cree political leaders must enter into detailed negotiations with developers and governments; 5) while youth aspire to the levels of autonomy and skill which the most intensive hunters epitomize, only a minority of youth are currently achieving their goals; 6) each of these areas of change is expressed in a multiplicity of sub-texts in daily discourses which assert both the dangers of loss and the practical means of reaffirmation as well as of new practices aimed at exploring enhanced community autonomy.

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.

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

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