Title: Barriers and Facilitators to Indigenous Knowledge Incorporation in Policy-Making: The Nunatsiavut Case

Completed: September 2013

Supervisor: Dr. Chris Furgal

Committee: Dr. Bob Paehlke and Dr. Heather Nicol

Abstract: The inclusion and application of Indigenous Knowledge (IK) has become a central and often demanded element of policy-making involving Indigenous peoples’. However, there are very few examples that exist in the literature and elsewhere that show how IK can be effectively integrated into decisions, policies, and programs. In response to these challenges, this research explored what processes are used to incorporate IK into policy and their effectiveness through the development of a framework that sought to identify critical factors related to IK inclusion. The framework was then applied to evaluate IK incorporation opportunities in the case of the Nunatsiavut Government’s development of their Environmental Protection Act. The case study analysis was used to test, ground-truth, and provide adaptations to the initial framework. This research identifies the importance of governance structures and processes, community participation and engagement approaches, and IK research and support programming in enhancing opportunities for IK to be integrated and reflected in policy outcomes. The Nunatsiavut case largely supported, but in some cases challenged critical factors of IK incorporation identified in the framework. The findings of this study are valuable for policy and decision-makers (both Indigenous and non-Indigenous) regarding approaches and programs that can assist and support IK inclusion into policy processes and decisions.

 Keywords: Indigenous Knowledge, Traditional Knowledge, Inuit Knowledge, policy, Nunatsiavut, self-government, environmental assessment