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RESEARCH ARTICLE: Collaborative Environmental Governance and Indigenous Peoples: Recommendations for Practice

  • Suzanne von der Porten (a1), Rob de Loë (a2) and Ryan Plummer (a3)

Collaborative environmental governance scholars have increasingly recognized the need to engage Indigenous peoples in environmental decision-making processes. Barriers to doing so effectively are well known. Recognizing these barriers, some scholars have discussed recommendations from practice in regions where Indigenous lands have been colonized and where there are complex environmental problems. This article explores assumptions regarding Indigenous engagement in the practice of collaborative environmental governance and contextualizes these assumptions relative to the perspectives of Indigenous peoples. Concrete advice for environmental practitioners is offered that builds on findings from a previously published systematic review and empirical multi-case study of governance for water in British Columbia, Canada. Recommendations for practice offered here include the following: approach or involve Indigenous peoples as self-determining nations rather than as one of many collaborative stakeholders or participants; identify and engage with existing or intended environmental governance processes and assertions of self-determination by Indigenous nations; create opportunities for relationship building between Indigenous peoples and policy or governance practitioners; choose venues and processes of decision making that reflect Indigenous rather than Eurocentric venues and processes; provide resources to Indigenous nations to level the playing field in terms of capacity for collaboration or for policy reform decision making; and find ways to support Indigenous nations in their own continued environmental decision making and self-determination.

Environmental Practice 00: 1–11 (2015)

Corresponding author
Address correspondence to: Suzanne von der Porten, Hakai Institute, Simon Fraser University; (e-mail)
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Environmental Practice
  • ISSN: 1466-0466
  • EISSN: 1466-0474
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