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How and Why Indigenous Peoples are Engaged in Wildland Fire Management

  • Author / Creator
    Askin, Courtney
  • Little is known about how and why Indigenous peoples are engaged in wildland fire management particularly in the areas of wildfire prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery abilities in the event of a threatening wildfire. This qualitative study explored how and why Indigenous peoples in six case study jurisdictions in Canada and New Zealand are engaged with government fire management agencies in wildfire management, barriers to engagement, and identifies opportunities to increase engagement between governments and Indigenous peoples. This research used a qualitative research approach with a case study design. Twenty-nine participants were interviewed from Canada and New Zealand, including in the provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Nova Scotia, as well as the Northwest Territories. Findings indicate that engagement between government fire management agencies and Indigenous peoples predominantly occurs when agencies respond to a wildland fire affecting Indigenous land and in the employment of Indigenous peoples. The key barriers identified by Indigenous leaders were a lack of trust towards the government, and limited financial support by the federal government that would allow Indigenous communities the ability to hire staff to support emergency management including engagement, as well as the fire suppression equipment needed to respond to wildfires in or near their community. Government participants indicated that a lack of funding to hire the appropriate amount of staff to support engagement with Indigenous communities as a barrier, as was a lack of Indigenous cultural awareness and history in government staff, and the lack of clarity around the roles and responsibilities of the multiple agencies involved during emergency response. Recommendations for increasing engagement are provided. This research concludes with a way forward for both Indigenous and government leaders that can enhance their relationship.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2021
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-xrx7-2274
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.