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. Indigenous Empowerment through Co-management 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.
Indigenous Empowerment through Co-management 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.
Part 1: What Are Land Claims–Based Co-management Boards?
1 A New Species in the Canadian Governmental Menagerie
2 Northern Governments, Land Claims, and Land Claims Boards
Part 2: Specific Land Claims Boards
3 The Nunavut Wildlife Management Board
4 The Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board
5 The Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board and the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board
6 The Mackenzie Valley Boards and the Regulatory Improvement Saga
Part 3: A Review of the Key Issues
7 Issues of Board Independence
8 Traditional Knowledge in Claims-Mandated Co-management Board
9 Indigenous Influence through Claims Boards?
Graham White is a professor emeritus in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He has been researching and writing about the politics of Northern Canada since the 1980s and has published widely on Canadian politics, especially at the provincial and territorial level. His books include Made in Nunavut (with Jack Hicks), which was shortlisted for the Canadian Political Science Association’s Smiley Prize for the best book in Canadian politics, and Cycling into Saigon (with David Cameron), which was shortlisted for the Donner Foundation Prize for the best book in Canadian public policy. He is a former president of the Canadian Political Science Association and a former English-language editor of the Canadian Journal of Political Science.
"In this important book, Graham White deftly weaves together meticulous research and his own experience to tell a compelling story about the emergence of land claims boards and the growing pains of their first twenty years. The result is a rich analysis of one of the central institutions of comprehensive land claims agreements and their role in the evolution of treaty federalism in Canada."
– Paul Nadasdy, professor of anthropology and American Indian and Indigenous studies, Cornell University
"One of the best works of political science ever produced on the Canadian North."
– Ken Coates, Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation at the University of Saskatchewan and co-author of From Treaty Peoples to Treaty Nation: A Road Map for All Canadians