I’m an ocean-obsessed nerd who recently moved from one coast to another; British Colunbia to Nova Scotia (or Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq). I can usually be found working in a building with a view of the ocean or exploring the coastline on foot.
I’m currently absorbed with thoughts about how to include local voices in decision-making, particularly about issues to do with coastal community resiliency and adaptation to climate change and biodiversity loss. I love to chat so feel free to reach out to me on CoSphere for conversations around community-engaged and decolonizing research, knowledge co-production, co-management, and frameworks for multiple ways of knowing.
Interesting thoughts, Brooke. Thank you!
Addressing your first thought, there's some interesting foundational literature on participation which I would suggest reading if you haven't yet come across. Two in particular were really formative for me: Arstein's ladder (here) and Collins & Ison's response (here). Unfortunately, they're both hidden behind paywalls which is another issue entirely. Along this line of thinking is the recent UNDRIP Act in Canada and layering over the 'duty to consult' from the Constitution (which, as you said, is rarely meaningful) and hopefully moving towards 'free, prior and informed consent' (FPIC) as described in UNDRIP. I think this is a change that could hold weight but hasn't yet been tested, so it will be interesting to see how FPIC becomes defined in Canadian law.
To address your second thought: as a white settler myself, I also struggle with this. But I think that the positive elements you could bring to this movement could overpower how you may potentially overstep. A first thing I try to always be aware of is not 'tokenizing' my Indigenous friends or asking for their 'approval' on everything I say in the realm of colonizing issues. There are lots of resources on decolonizing research that can help frame your own research (see Linda Smith's "Decolonizing Methodologies", Wilson et al. 2020 here, and the Kitasoo/Xai’xais Stewardship Authority's research guide here for starters). And finally, I just love how you mention amplifying Indigenous voices. I also think this is key.
Hope that wasn't too much of a "look at all these resources" response, but I do so love to share readings that have framed the way I look at issues.
Claire! I've been thinking a lot about these areas too - particularly co-management and knowledge co-production.
We should actually have a chat about it some time, if you're interested. :) It's come up for me as I've been thinking about the participation of local Indigenous peoples in the EIS for the grizzly restoration project in the North Cascades. In two ways: First, how can we move beyond an emphasis on improving participation (which is rarely meaningful) towards true co-governance and Indigenous-led environmental governance, and what would this look like (the former at least)? As well, I've been pondering how I can possibly research and speak on these things as a white, uninvited settler on stolen Indigenous territories. I can't, really, but I'd hope to find a way to amplify Indigenous voices and push for this shift, through research.