Indigenous Empowerment through Co-management – Land Claims Boards, Wildlife Management, and Environmental Regulation

Co-management boards, established under comprehensive land claims agreements with Indigenous peoples, have become key players in land-use planning, wildlife management, and environmental regulation across Canada’s North. This book provides a detailed account of the operation and effectiveness of these new forms of federalism in order to address a central question: Have co-management boards been successful in ensuring substantial Indigenous involvement in policies affecting the land and wildlife in their traditional territories?

Graham White tackles this question, drawing on decades of research and writing about the politics of Northern Canada. He begins with an overview of the boards, examining their legal foundations, structure and membership, decision-making processes, and independence from government. He then presents case studies of several important boards. His analysis focuses on two issues: the extent of involvement of Indigenous communities and governments in board processes, and board efforts to incorporate Indigenous knowledge into its decisions and operations.

While White identifies constraints on the role Northern Indigenous peoples play in board processes, he finds that overall they do exercise extensive decision-making influence. His findings are provocative and offer valuable insights into our understanding of the importance of land claims boards and the role they play in the evolution of treaty federalism in Canada.

This book is essential reading for scholars and students of relations between Indigenous peoples and the state, co-management systems for natural resources, and Northern government and politics; members of Northern governments and boards will also be interested in the findings presented here, as will members of Indigenous governments and organizations more broadly.

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