Special Issue "Sustainable Water Governance through Indigenous Research Approaches"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Resources Management, Policy and Governance".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 December 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Deborah McGregor
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Osgoode Hall law faculty, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada
Interests: water justice; traditional knowledge; climate justice; indigenous peoples
Prof. Dr. Aimee Craft
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Common law, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Interests: indigenous peoples; indigenous water laws; treaties; human rights; governance

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The ‘research landscape’ has shifted to include multiple ways of knowing in meeting some of the greatest challenges of our times. In recent years, there has been a remarkable emergence of Indigenous research scholarship at both the academic and community levels. Research, in general, continues to be very much a colonial practice, re-inscribing power imbalances between the academy and Indigenous communities and peoples through continued control over knowledge production, access, and mobilization. In this volume, we address the question, “How can Indigenous research paradigms and methodologies inform sustainable water governance and security?”. This call responds to the need for acceptance and utilization of diverse knowledge systems critical to addressing water governance and security at every level of society.

The contributors to this volume are a testament to the rich diversity of Indigenous research methods. In this Special Issue, we provide insights into how a variety of Indigenous research methodologies have been utilized in water justice and governance projects. Contributors will link Indigenous theory to practice by emphasizing research that places knowledge holders and practitioners as experts, rather than merely “the researched”. Indigenous traditional knowledge is thus recognized as central to inquiry, though not exclusively so. This collection sets out to create the ethical space and reciprocal learning critical in meeting emerging water security challenges. We pose the following questions as guideposts for consideration:

  1. How are Indigenous research paradigms and methods employed in water governance research?
  2. How have Indigenous research methods been employed to support community-building projects related to water justice and governance?
  3. How can Indigenous research support the realization of sustainable water governance now and in the future?

Prof. Dr. Deborah McGregor
Prof. Dr. Aimee Craft
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Indigenous peoples
  • Traditional knowledge
  • Indigenous knowledge
  • Indigenous research methodologies
  • Decolonization
  • Ethics
  • Ethical space
  • Sustainable water governance

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Water Insecurity in Ontario First Nations: An Exploratory Study on Past Interventions and the Need for Indigenous Water Governance
Water 2021, 13(5), 717; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050717 - 06 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1272
Abstract
In 2018, I began an exploratory study involving fourteen Ontario First Nation participants that examined some First Nation water security challenges and opportunities. In acknowledgment that many of the government assessments, reports, and investments to date have failed, this study aims to determine [...] Read more.
In 2018, I began an exploratory study involving fourteen Ontario First Nation participants that examined some First Nation water security challenges and opportunities. In acknowledgment that many of the government assessments, reports, and investments to date have failed, this study aims to determine the causes of the water crisis as well as potential solutions by sharing Indigenous perspectives and recommendations on water governance and security. During the study, Indigenous participants were asked interview questions regarding their water and wastewater systems, their historical and current water security conditions, and if they had recommendations for achieving water security in First Nations. The analysis from these interviews demonstrated that there were ten different themes for water security and insecurity in First Nation communities as well as a set of four recommendations shared by the fourteen participants. The participant recommendations are: (1) that Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Indigenous laws be included in water security initiatives and water governance; (2) that provincial and federal governments work with Indigenous communities on their water security challenges and opportunities; (3) that First Nation leadership develops and implements community water protection plans; (4) that Indigenous communities establish an oversight committee or body for monitoring tourist ventures and extractive development projects such as mining on their territories. This paper will also discuss how an Indigenous research paradigm can be applied during the research process to ensure that the information is captured from the Indigenous perspectives of the participants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Governance through Indigenous Research Approaches)
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Article
Beyond Institutional Ethics: Anishinaabe Worldviews and the Development of a Culturally Sensitive Field Protocol for Aquatic Plant Research
Water 2021, 13(5), 709; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050709 - 05 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1035
Abstract
Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2) guides knowledge production and dissemination in Canada. While it is intended to protect vulnerable populations from harm, it fails to consider Anishinaabe worldviews and, by extension, to effectively direct ethical water research with [...] Read more.
Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2) guides knowledge production and dissemination in Canada. While it is intended to protect vulnerable populations from harm, it fails to consider Anishinaabe worldviews and, by extension, to effectively direct ethical water research with aquatic plant life. Using Anishinaabe oral testimony and oral stories, Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation (NAN) and the University of Guelph (UofG) co-developed a culturally sensitive field protocol to respect Manomin (Wild Rice) as an other-than-human being and guide research into Manomin restoration. By illuminating key directives from NAN, this article showcases the limitations of institutional ethics in Canada. It concludes with recommendations to broaden TCPS2 to better address Anishinaabe teachings about plant and animal relations, but ultimately challenges institutional Research Ethics Boards (REBs) to relinquish control and respect Indigenous Nations’ right to govern research within their territories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Governance through Indigenous Research Approaches)
Article
Building the Treaty #3 Nibi Declaration Using an Anishinaabe Methodology of Ceremony, Language and Engagement
Water 2021, 13(4), 532; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040532 - 18 Feb 2021
Viewed by 948
Abstract
Ratified in 2019, the Nibi Declaration of Treaty #3 voices the relationship with water (Nibi) and jurisdictional responsibility that all Anishinaabe citizens have within the Treaty #3 territory. It affirms the responsibilities and relationships that others living within the territory should have with [...] Read more.
Ratified in 2019, the Nibi Declaration of Treaty #3 voices the relationship with water (Nibi) and jurisdictional responsibility that all Anishinaabe citizens have within the Treaty #3 territory. It affirms the responsibilities and relationships that others living within the territory should have with the water and ensures that the spirit of Nibi is central to decision-making and water governance. This article details the process of developing The Declaration, in accordance with the Treaty #3 lawmaking process and, which was driven by women, in ceremony, with the help of Gitiizii m-inaanik, and with the input of The Nation as a whole. This process embodies nationhood, sovereignty, and Anishinaabe jurisdiction as it relates to the environment and water, in accordance with the Manito Aki Inakonigaawin (Mother Earth law). Every person has a relationship with water. The process of nurturing that relationship through the teachings exemplified in the implementation of The Declaration will provide clarity on the responsibilities and partnerships that must be developed to protect the water for future generations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Governance through Indigenous Research Approaches)
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Article
Transferrable Principles to Revolutionize Drinking Water Governance in First Nation Communities in Canada
Water 2020, 12(11), 3091; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113091 - 04 Nov 2020
Viewed by 1003
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Governance through Indigenous Research Approaches)
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Article
An Indigenous Research Methodology That Employs Anishinaabek Elders, Language Speakers and Women’s Knowledge for Sustainable Water Governance
Water 2020, 12(11), 3058; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113058 - 31 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1054
Abstract
Indigenous research paradigms are congruent to Indigenous worldviews and have become more dominant in areas such as Indigenous policy and education. As Indigenous research paradigms continue to gain momentum, the historical legacy of unethical research is addressed as more Indigenous communities and organizations [...] Read more.
Indigenous research paradigms are congruent to Indigenous worldviews and have become more dominant in areas such as Indigenous policy and education. As Indigenous research paradigms continue to gain momentum, the historical legacy of unethical research is addressed as more Indigenous communities and organizations develop their own research protocols. There is a plethora of articles explaining Indigenous research methodologies, but few examine the inclusion of the knowledge from Elders, language speakers, and Indigenous women in sustainable water governance. My Indigenous research methodology draws on the works of Indigenous scholars Shawn Wilson, Linda Smith, and Margaret Kovach, with specific focus on Wendy Geniusz’s Biskaabiiyang. My Indigenous research methodology is specific to the Anishinaabe territory of the Great Lakes region and includes Anishinaabek Elders, Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway language) speakers, and Anishinaabek women. This article seeks to contribute to Indigenous research paradigms and methods by elucidating the importance of engaging Anishinaabek Elders, Anishinaabemowin speakers, and Anishinaabek women in sustainable water governance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Governance through Indigenous Research Approaches)
Article
Moving towards Effective First Nations’ Source Water Protection: Barriers, Opportunities, and a Framework
Water 2020, 12(11), 2957; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12112957 - 22 Oct 2020
Viewed by 1232
Abstract
It is well known that watershed-based source water protection programs are integral to the provision of clean drinking water. However, the involvement of Indigenous communities in these programs is very limited in Canada, which has contributed to the vulnerability of Indigenous source waters [...] Read more.
It is well known that watershed-based source water protection programs are integral to the provision of clean drinking water. However, the involvement of Indigenous communities in these programs is very limited in Canada, which has contributed to the vulnerability of Indigenous source waters to contamination. Through a partnership with an Anishinaabe community, this research aimed to identify challenges and opportunities for communities and practitioners to improve the protection of Indigenous source waters in the province of Ontario. The methodology followed the Indigenous research principles of relationship, respect, relevance, reciprocity, and responsibility. Interviews and a youth focus group were conducted with Indigenous community members and practitioners from industry, academia, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and government. Analysis was conducted using an iterative process to develop codes and themes in the qualitative data analysis software NVivo. Results indicated that issues with scale, jurisdiction, the concept of source water protection, representation, funding, and capacity impact efforts to protect Indigenous source waters. Hopeful recent developments and upcoming opportunities were identified, and a water protection framework for First Nation communities in Ontario was developed in partnership with an Anishinaabe water protection committee. Recommendations are provided to multiple sectors for moving forward respectfully, and effectively, towards the protection of Indigenous waters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Governance through Indigenous Research Approaches)
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