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Open AccessArticle

Water is Medicine: Reimagining Water Security through Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Relationships to Treated and Traditional Water Sources in Yukon, Canada

1
Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1, Canada
2
Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
3
Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1, Canada
4
Heritage Department, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Dawson City, YT Y0B 1G0, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
No email address available.
Water 2019, 11(3), 624; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030624
Received: 5 November 2018 / Revised: 15 March 2019 / Accepted: 20 March 2019 / Published: 26 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Governance: Retheorizing Politics)
There is growing acknowledgement that the material dimensions of water security alone are inadequate; we also need to engage with a broader set of hydrosocial relationships. Indeed, more holistic approaches are needed to explain Indigenous peoples’ relationships to water including the use of traditional water sources such as mountain creeks and springs. In this paper, we seek to reimagine water security through a case study of Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s relationships to both treated and traditional water sources throughout the First Nation’s traditional territory in Yukon, Canada. Through community-based research including interviews with Elders and other community members, we examine the importance of traditional water sources for meeting important health requirements including physical, spiritual and cultural wellbeing. This intervention contributes to ongoing debates about what it means to secure safe and affordable water in three key ways: First, we argue that Indigenous water relations invite a shift towards more a holistic understanding of water security; second, we contend that settler colonial politics should be understood as a root cause of water insecurity; finally, we explore how Two-Eyed Seeing can be applied as an alternative to the ‘integration’ of Western scientific and Indigenous approaches to drinking water. View Full-Text
Keywords: community-based research; drinking water; hydrosocial; Indigenous knowledge; settler colonialism; political ontology; risk; Two-Eyed Seeing; Yukon; Canada; water security community-based research; drinking water; hydrosocial; Indigenous knowledge; settler colonialism; political ontology; risk; Two-Eyed Seeing; Yukon; Canada; water security
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Wilson, N.J.; Harris, L.M.; Joseph-Rear, A.; Beaumont, J.; Satterfield, T. Water is Medicine: Reimagining Water Security through Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Relationships to Treated and Traditional Water Sources in Yukon, Canada. Water 2019, 11, 624.

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