There are analogous challenges when it comes to the management and provision of health services and drinking water in First Nations reserves in Canada; both represent human rights and both involve complex and multijurisdictional management. The purpose of this study is to translate the tenets of Jordan’s Principle, a child-first principle regarding health service provision, within the broader context of First Nation drinking water governance in order to identify avenues for positive change. This project involved secondary analysis of data from 53 semi-structured, key informant (KI) interviews across eight First Nation communities in western Canada. Data were coded according to the three principles of: provision of culturally inclusive management, safeguarding health, and substantive equity. Failure to incorporate Traditional Knowledge, water worldviews, and holistic health as well as challenges to technical management were identified as areas currently restricting successful drinking water management. Recommendations include improved infrastructure, increased resources (both financial and non-financial), in-community capacity building, and relationship building. To redress the inequities currently experienced by First Nations when it comes to management of and access to safe drinking water, equitable governance structures developed from the ground up and embedded in genuine relationships between First Nations and Canadian federal government agencies are required.
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