Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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Governance as If Our Lives Depended On It
This research explores how the value of sustaining the natural world could become foundational to senior level policy decisions in Canada and how Indigenous Knowledges and Peoples could play a key role in such a paradigm shift. It is a trans-disciplinary study that draws on scholarship in Indigenous Studies, Sustainability Studies and Public Policy and existing report recommendations and policy documents that highlight both historical and recent governance trends in the area of sustainability. These sources help to describe both the challenges and the art of the possible in achieving a policy paradigm shift in Canada. The focal point is a series of conversations with seventeen highly experienced Indigenous and non-indigenous policy leaders from across Canada and across traditional territories. The findings reveal that many participants strongly agreed that a paradigm shift should occur and that both Indigenous and western worldviews are needed to realize it, with none disagreeing. They also point to significant changes that are needed to move from paradigms where shorter-term economic development decisions take precedence over environmental concerns to understanding that a healthy economy and society are dependent upon the natural world. To this end, they provide recommendations such as embedding the Right to a Clean Environment in federal legislation and learning from consensus and culturally based governance models in the North West Territories, Nunavut and New Zealand. They suggest mandating education and awareness programs for civil servants and elected officials on Indigenous -Canada relations and sustaining the natural world upon which Canada is situated and upon which treaties are based. They emphasize that a culture shift requires more Indigenous Peoples in senior leadership roles and to be more meaningfully involved in policy processes. Overall, the conclusion finds that a paradigm shift requires positive relationships between parliamentary governments and Indigenous peoples that enable both Knowledge Systems to come together to put the natural world at the foundation of senior-level policy decisions. Qualities such as respect, listening, trust, reciprocity, responsibility and connectedness with the natural world are highlighted through real-world examples that show that, although it may take time, a paradigm shift is possible and may have already begun. Next steps suggest new approaches for building relationships into the policy cycle. Author Keywords: Governance, Policy, Sustainability, Indigenous Knowledges, Natural World

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1974 - 2024
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Format: 2024/03/02