Reciprocal Research and Learning with Indigenous Communities

By Rachel Arsenault, Deborah McGregor, Sibyl Diver, Aaron Witham, and Carrie Bourassa

Abstract:  Within Indigenous communities, concerns regarding water quality from inadequate infrastructure and upstream industrial development, as well as ecosystem and human health effects from toxin release into the environment have increased significantly (Grinde 1995). This has led to a commonly encountered issue that many of the standards in place do not adequately account for or include a holistic approach for assessing the social, cultural, and spiritual values, beliefs, and practices that link First Nations peoples to their environment (Wolfley 1998). Many communities are now taking it upon themselves to identify environmental contamination problems and their sources, establish and enforce environmental regulations that include traditional ecological benchmarks, and develop sustainable, long term environmental protection objectives (O’Brien 2000).

Full text: Reciprocal Research and Learning