Community Projects & Participatory Research

Since 2016 Wa Ni Ska Tan has funded research and community projects that explore or help mitigate the impacts of hydropower. We have accepted proposals three times a year since then with proposals being reviewed by the Research Steering Committee.
Please see project outlines below.
Norway House Youth Camp 2016

Norway House Cree Nation with WHA Youth Camp Sub-Committee

The first ever Wa Ni Ska Tan Hydro Alliance Youth Camp was held in Norway House Cree Nation over five days in early August 2016. There were 30 participants from over eight communities across Manitoba. During the camp youth engaged with elders, asked questions about their communities and learned about traditions and their land. The camp served as an opportunity to discuss the impacts of hydro development on culture, families, and the environment. Throughout the five days there were opportunities to participate in sweat lodge ceremonies, medicine gathering, beading workshops, elders’ teachings, and a photo-voice project. This first Hydro Alliance Youth Camp will serve as an excellent model for the years to come. Friendships were formed and the conversations had with one another—short and long—helped our first camp develop into something that really affected and inspired us all.

Financial Inclusion & Hydro in Australia

Dr. Jerry Buckland

From July through December 2016 Jerry Buckland was on a 6-month research leave from Canadian Mennonite University’s Menno Simons College. He is working on various projects including a 6-week research tour in Australia to explore efforts there to promote Indigenous Financial Inclusion (an area of research that looks at the causes and consequences of having little or no access to mainstream banking) and Indigenous co-management of natural resources.

The study tour provided an opportunity to share the work of the Wa Ni Ska Tan Hydro Alliance with Australian researchers and explore the hydro issues facing Australia and their responses to these large development projects. A specific focus will be the co-management of natural resources. Jerry will be visiting the Cape York Resource Management Organization in Cairns that is active in innovative co-management of natural resources.

Northern Manitoba & Hydro Graphic Novel 

Ad Astra Comix (Nicole Burton & Hugh Goldring) with Peter Kulchyski 

This project will produce a high-quality, full-length graphic novel (a long-form comic book) about the impact of hydroelectric development in Manitoba’s northern communities and the people who live there. This graphic novel will tell the story of a fictional occupation below the dam at Grand Rapids with people coming from hydro-affected communities all over the north. This story is meant to be a narrative device for putting indigenous people at the centre of the story. It will be accessible to readers 12 and up, and serve to provide a valuable record of community and even family experiences. The stories told in the graphic novel will be produced in partnership with the Hydro Alliance Committee to ensure the greatest possible accuracy. It will also act as an educational tool for Southern communities unfamiliar with the impacts of hydro development in the north.

Revenue Sharing Initiatives 

Dr. Melanie O’Gorman with post-doctoral researcher Rosa Sanchez and undergraduate student Alexandra Schofield   

The dams more recently constructed by Manitoba Hydro have involved partnerships with First Nations communities. These partnerships and the other compensation deals that have been negotiated by Manitoba Hydro do not address the socio-economic problems present in most hydro-affected communities, including housing shortages, mass unemployment, poverty and food insecurity (Loney, 1995). A new approach for hydroelectric benefit-sharing is needed that would work towards bringing the socio-economic developments that affected First Nations desire. Such benefit-sharing would involve payments on an annual basis to all hydro-affected communities and individuals.This project will estimate four potential sources of revenue for financing regular, global benefit-sharing. These sources are river rental revenue, profit-sharing with Manitoba Hydro, a dedicated hydroelectric rate increase and a heating subsidy scheme. In addition to estimating these potential revenue sources, this research project will complete socio-economic profiles of a number of communities that have been deeply affected by Manitoba Hydro projects, and provide an illustration of what such revenue could achieve in these communities.

Legal Resources & Knowledge  

Jerch Law with articling students Shelby Thomas & Tamara Reimer    

This project will fund two articling students to conduct preliminary research and analysis to inform the drafting of two legal memoranda. The first memorandum would explore and address the issue with respect to Tataskweyak Cree Nation’s (“TCN”) signature on, and agreement to, the Adhesion to Treaty 5. The second memorandum would explore the legal status of the implementation agreements. This research will inform further discussion on the issues and possible action steps.

Nelson House Youth Camp 2017 

Justice Seekers of Nelson House with PhD Candidate Ramona Neckoway    

The 2017 Wa Ni Ska Tan Hydro Alliance (WHA) youth camp, taking place in Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, can be viewed as an extension of the inaugural WHA Youth Camp which was held in Norway House Cree Nation in August 2016. The camp is a land-based gathering for youth between the ages of 14-17 and offers an opportunity to bridge knowledge between elders and camp participants in a land-based setting. It is estimated that between 40-60 Indigenous youth from various hydro affected First Nations communities, including youth from communities located in the south area of the province, will have the opportunity: (1) to visit a hydro affected First Nation community; (2) have the opportunity to learn land-based/cultural activities; and (3) learn about the impacts and effects of the activities/developments carried out by Manitoba Hydro.

For Love of a River: Two Stories of Loss and Longing Documentary 

Interchurch Council on Hydropower    

For Love of a River is an 18-minute mini-documentary that tells two stories of how hydropower projects affect rivers and the people who love those rivers.

Story One: The Kitchekeesik family of Tataskweyak Cree Nation is at the epicentre of the most costly infrastructure project in Manitoba history. For them, the area where the Keeyask Dam sits and the area it will flood is home. It is where they grew up and remains for them the most precious place on earth. Three of these sisters, along with two of their husbands as well as Robert Spence travelled with us to two cabin sites in the area, the place where their brother died many years ago, and as close to the dam as we could get.

Story Two: The other story told in the film is of Ellen Cook and the Grand Rapids Dam. Ellen is a member of the Misipawistik Cree Nation and was a young girl when the dam was built very near her family’s home. To tell Ellen’s story we visited Grand Rapids as well as the neighbouring community of Chemawawin, which was relocated as a result of the Grand Rapids Dam. We visited the Old Post from which the community was moved. Ellen hadn’t visited the Old Post since her youth. Ellen concludes her telling of the experiences of these sister communities by stating her belief that the dams will not last forever and one day the rivers will flow again.

Treaty & Water Rights Education

Lake Winnipeg Indigenous Collective    

This project will help build capacity in First Nations surrounding Lake Winnipeg through education on aboriginal and treaty rights with respect to water. The 1-day seminar will provide an overview of Treaties 1, 3, and 5, key environmental legislation in Canada, the environmental assessment process, the duty to consult, and UNDRIP. This legal knowledge will help inform policy and resource development decisions in these communities. This project will involve contracting an expert in indigenous law to perform the 1-day seminar for the members of the LWIC steering committee and/or the chief and council in their respective communities (to be coordinated in October 2017 and held in November 2017).

Traditional Spawning Habitat Study  

Lake Winnipeg Indigenous Collective    

One of the common concerns being brought to the forefront of LWIC’s meetings since 2014 is the impact of hydropower development on traditional livelihoods, and on the health of Lake Winnipeg, including shoreline debris, erosion, and the degradation of water quality and fish habitat. LWIC recognizes that traditional ecological knowledge in First Nations communities is a valuable resource to identify environmental impacts, inform policy and resource development decisions, and create sustainable and effective action plans for the future. This project will consist of two phases. Phase 1 will include employing a student to assist in gathering elders and local fishermen in two host communities, documenting impacts to traditional spawning areas, mapping significant habitat locations, conducting site visits, gathering recommendations, and compiling the data into a comprehensive background study for each community. Using these studies, Phase 2 will explore engineered solutions and provide a written and oral report with recommendations to each community on the feasibility of fish habitat rehabilitation projects moving forward.

“Where the Otters Play” to “Horseshoe Bay”: Hydro Electric Generations and Footprints in Northern Manitoba

Ramona Neckoway, PhD Candidate    

Ramona’s doctoral work focuses on the impacts and effects of hydro-electric system in northern Manitoba. One component of her research aims to chart the growth of this system. Another aspect involves documenting perspectives on the system as understood and experienced by Ithinewuk who have been directly affected by it. This research is a work in progress and the direction of the research may continue to evolve and transform.

An oral history and analysis of experiences and future opportunities in O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation (South Indian Lake)  

Leslie Dysart, Community Association of South Indian Lake. Ian Mauro, Melanie O’Gorman, Alan Diduck, and Jerry Buckland – U of Winnipeg 

This research project is a partnership between the Community Association of South Indian Lake (CASIL) and the University of Winnipeg. The project is focusing on the creation of a film and oral history about hydro development in the community of South Indian Lake. This Cree language oral history will explore the perspectives of hunters, trappers, fishers and other local residents to better understand their lived experience with hydro through five short films. 1) A film capturing conversations with Elders regarding the impact of the flooding of South Indian Lake; 2) A film discussing the collapse of the fishery as a result of hydroelectric development; 3) A film on Wuskwatim and the politics surrounding the creation of O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation; 4) A discussion of the tactics used by Manitoba Hydro to ‘divide and conquer’ community members in order to reduce resistance to hydroelectric development; 5) A film on youth visions for the future in South Indian Lake and how this future will involve hydro.

Grand Rapids Documentation & Archival Project  

Gerald McKay, Grand Rapids  

This purpose of this project is to preserve historical pictures and articles that were written before the construction of the Grand Rapids dam. This will include what life was like before the dam was built, the fishery that was said to employ one thousand workers at Horse Island, the trapping industry at Summerberry marsh, and the importance of the rapids to the community, physically and economically. The project will involve Grade 12 students from Grand Rapids School and include outreach to former residents who have moved to Easterville, Selkirk, The Pas and Winnipeg.

Mapping Geographically and Spatially Northern Manitoba Hydro-Impacted Indigenous Communities’ Traditional Environmental Knowledge  

Victoria Grima, Graduate Student with advisor Stephane McLachlan 

The current understanding of environmental changes caused by hydroelectric development is limited because the scientific world has ignored, not consulted or inadequately incorporated Indigenous Traditional Environmental Knowledge in their research. The aim of this research project is to combine Western technology and knowledge with Traditional Environmental Knowledge to fully comprehend the effects of hydro development on the shorelines and tributaries of the Great River and Nelson River, as well as the direct lifestyle changes of Indigenous communities because of these physical changes.

The proposal lays out four specific objectives: 1) identification and documentation of changes through time of hydro-related environmental impacts; 2) spatial documentation on the effects of hydro developments on indigenous traditional cultural land-use and harvesting practices; 3) research on adaptations of traditional land-use and harvesting practices; and 4) analysis of geographical correlations.

Sagkeeng & Peguis High School Land Based Education  

Allan Courchene, Educator 

Sagkeeng Anicinabe High School and Peguis Central School are joining forces for a week of land-based education at Nutimik Lake in Whiteshell Park Provincial Park in late May 2017. They are bringing together 30 students from each school to teach their youth about the impacts of the seven dams built in their territory along Lake Winnipeg. They will learn about fish ladders and elevators and the impacts of sturgeon spawning areas. They will also participate in learning their cultural heritage and land-based skills such as medicine picking, bannock making, fish filleting, etc… Hikes, swimming, and games are also going to be part of the outdoor adventure.

Pickerel Narrows First Nation Elders’ Lodge  

Elders Gordon (Sr.) and Irene Bighetty, Pickerel Narrows First Nation . Jack Lovell, PhD Candidate with advisor Stef McLachlan.

This project is focused on the preservation and enhancement of Indigenous spiritual and cultural identity and is intended to help retain and preserve the uniqueness of the Pickerel Narrows First Nation (PNFN) community despite the many long years since their unexpected displacement. The main activity of this project is the construction of an Elders’ Lodge to be located on the “Thunder Ground” camp-site on the shore of Granville Lake on PNFN tribal lands. This is the site of their annual Sun Dance. The intent of the Elders’ Lodge is to provide a safe and holistic place throughout the year where elders, adults, and youth are to made welcome to share their knowledge and pass on the critically important ‘core Indigenous knowledge and spirituality’ to preserve a way of life that is being threatened with cultural assimilation from ongoing effects of colonialism.

Sundance and Manitoba Hydro’s (Re)settlement Regime

 Jonathan Peyton (U of Manitoba) and Matt Dyce (U of Winnipeg)

This is an archival research project that examines the social, economic, and environmental effects of Manitoba Hydro company towns and abandoned landscapes, with an initial focus the abandoned town of Sundance. Sundance was built in the mid-1970s for housing labour and infrastructure of the Limestone Dam. Three objectives of the research are the: 1) development of a historical record of company towns built by Manitoba Hydro; 2) use archival materials to develop further case studies on other abandoned towns; and 3) development of community partnerships. The aim of the project is to show that the management of water in Manitoba has been as much about the management and production of a wet landscape as it has been about the management of people, populations and land.

Archival and Oral History Research Project: Cross Lake, South Indian Lake, Grand Rapids, and Easterville

Erin Yaremko, Graduate Student with advisor Jarvis Brownlie 

This research project plans to build a collection of oral history, focusing on merging traditional Cree storytelling practices with oral history techniques and technology. The project will work with four communities in Northern Manitoba: Cross Lake (Natimik, Wapak and Saggitawak), South Indian Lake (O-Pipon-Na-Piwin), Grand Rapids (Misipawistik), and Easterville (Chemawawin). The research will explore how life story interviews can be incorporated into community healing processes through the use of a community archive centre. This research will be used as part of a graduate thesis and assisting the four communities in creating or expanding their community archive centres.

Harvesting on the Churchill River: Indigenous sovereignty and the harvesting lifestyle in Northern Manitoba

Joseph Dipple, PhD Candidate with advisor, Peter Kulchyski

The objectives of this doctoral research are to review the implications of hydroelectric development’s vast and wide-ranging impacts on the Ininiwak harvesting lifestyle in northern Manitoba, to learn from and experience the harvesting lifestyle first-hand, provide recording opportunities for this form of knowledge, gain an understanding of unique perspectives of land to both individuals and communities, gain knowledge about the importance of respectful relationships to the land, and to support the knowledge of Ininiwak harvesters as experts.

Water Rights Legal Research

 Jerch Law

This research carries forward previous legal research on two legal memoranda. This project includes meeting with the legal team to discuss the previous NFA memorandum and draft a new legal memorandum to aid Indigenous communities. The new legal memorandum will consider the assertion of an Aboriginal right to water, the implications arising from the text of Treaty 5 which does not surrender water rights, the fact that women are water carriers but were not included in treaty negotiations, and the fact that modern day treaties expressly contain provisions about water rights, which provides an evidentiary basis that an Aboriginal right to water has been recognized.

Treaty 3 Dams & Intersectional Colonial Violence

Caolan Barr, MA Student, Dept of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto

Caolan’s research revolves around water, settler colonialism and the impacts of dams across Treaty 3 territories, in particular the community of Lac des Mille Lacs. Specifically, it looks at the ways in which dams and hydroelectricity have been intentionally mobilized as settler colonial technologies of violence, displacement and genocide against the Anishinaabe communities of Treaty 3. Beyond examining the material impacts of the dams, this research looks at how the imposition of hydroelectric infrastructure is part of a process of intersectional colonial violence.

License to Learn: Hydropower Decision-making in Manitoba

Community Association of South Indian Lake & Interchurch Council on Hydropower

Manitoba Hydro faces four re-licensing processes and two final licencing processes under the Water Power Act in the foreseeable future. Deciding how these projects operate in coming decades will have major consequences for the environment of Manitoba as well as for numerous Indigenous nations. No clear precedent or process exists in Manitoba for these important decision-making steps. In the absence of a precedent or established process, Indigenous peoples as well as civil society now have an opportunity to shape the future. This project seeks to do just that.

The project will focus on the Churchill River Diversion (CRD) licence as a case study. The ultimate goal is to contribute to hydropower-related decision making that: a) better meets Indigenous needs; b) materially decreases environmental impacts; and c) models a modern, participatory, UNDRIP-informed decision-making process. Tangible outcomes include: 1) An accessible, common-sense report; 2) Exhaustive compilation of research and findings; and 3) A Power Point-style presentation outlining the licensing process, to be made available online and in booklet format.

Holding Hydro Accountable Campaign

Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition

This project is focused on raising awareness among Manitobans about the harmful effects of hydroelectric development. After a member of MEJC participated in the 2017 Hydro Tour with Peter Kulchyski, MEJC adopted a key goal to ensure Manitoba Hydro is an environmentally responsible utility.

This particular campaign focuses on communication and public awareness. MEJC recently directed the power of public opinion in our successful fight to stop Energy East and intends to apply some of the same tactics to hold MB Hydro accountable. MB Hydro has spent millions of dollars over decades convincing Manitobans that it produces clean energy. Anyone who has witnessed the devastating environmental and social impacts knows this is not the case. This campaign will help to counteract MB Hydro’s public awareness campaigns to make the truth about hydro as easy and accessible to consume as possible.

Health Impact of Hydro Flooding in OPCN and OCN

Asfia Kamal, Post-Doc, University of Saskatchewan with Alex Wilson

This proposal focuses on two hydro-impacted communities, O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation (South Indian Lake) and Opaskwayak Cree Nation, and their response to these impacts through food sovereignty programs. The research will look at how health and well-being have been compromised by hydro flooding and perceptions of colonial health service systems. The project focuses on land-based food and community collective activities and how community feels about these programs.

Beyond Colonialism: Photographing The Legacy of Hydro in Manitoba’s North

Aaron Vincent Elkaim, Independent Documentary Photographer & Visual Journalist

This project will highlight the legacy of hydro’s environmental degradation, cultural impact on our northern communities, and history of injustice. This work will examine this industry’s evolution in our contemporary climate of reconciliation and ask: what are the next generation’s hopes for the future regarding their land, culture and economy? The project will be in-depth and take one year to complete. Funding is for 60 days of time spent in the communities over the course of one year (to capture all four seasons), exhibition space, and some small technical expenses.

Manitoba Hydro Shadow Board

Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition

This project will create a shadow board of Manitoba Hydro comprised on community members of Northern and Southern Manitoba that will respond to hydro issues for accountability and media relations in hopes of fostering more public awareness and education, and showcasing an alternative vision of what a Hydro Board could look like. The shadow board will create objectives and develop a report card on past and recent Hydro activities, followed with a public action, petition and press conference. The shadow board will also be researching various bottom-line models in order to advocate for within the Manitoba Hydro.

Misipawistic/Grand Rapids Project

Jack Lovell, PhD Candidate, with advisor Stef McLachlan

Misipawistic was a thriving fishing community till its socio-economic structure was drastically altered though the damming of the Grand rapids, a once daily presence in the life of the community. This research intends to reveal the economic prospects for the present and future of the Misipawistic (Grand Rapids) community by researching, exploring and understand the economy that sustained the community prior to the construction of the dam. The research will also explore the ways that the construction of the dam drastically altered the local economy and identify viable economic opportunities to foster a sustainable indigenous economic development.

Wiisaagiijak and the Footprints: Narrative Knowledge Among Inniniwak

Peter Kulchyski & Jessica Jacobson-Konefall

Indigenous oral histories and stories are profound and deeply rooted in the Indigenous culture. The story of ‘Wiisaagiijak’ and how his footprints were left behind defines the Nisichawayasihk community since its people has lived on the lake that is named after the story. Both Dr. Peter Kulchyski and Jessica Jacobson-Konefall are currently co-authoring an article which will focus on ‘the long walk of the footprints’. In this respect, funds will be used to bring two elders, fluent in Cree and oral history, from Nisichawayasihk to Winnipeg in Winter 2018-19, to tell the story of Wiisaagiijak and the Footprints.

“Healing our Spirits Worldwide” Conference & Presentations

Dr. Myrle Ballard, Post-Doc, Health Sciences, UM

Dr. Ballard is a member of Lake St. Martin Anishinaabe First Nation, a nation that was forced to relocate in view of the 2011 flood – water was diverted into Lake St. Martin to protect urban areas, cottage country, and agricultural lands. Through community-based participatory driven research, Dr. Ballard produced two videos about the effects that the 2011 flood had on the Indigenous communities of Lake St. Martin and Little Saskatchewan. A third video will focus on the youth perspective. Dr. Ballard shared, at an International level, her experiences and research with other Indigenous communities at the “Healing our Spirits Worldwide” Conference in Sydney, Australia in November 2018. She focused on the Indigenous perspective on water and how this has become a threat to the Indigenous living. Dr. Ballard submitted two abstracts and was accepted to present on both at the conference.

Documentary on the Socio and Economic Impacts of Hydro-impacted Communities and their Poor Relationship with Manitoba Hydro

Carol Kobliski, Nelson House

Carol Kobliski is a member of one of the northern hydro-impacted Indigenous communities in Manitoba. Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation is located on the convergence of the three rivers: Burntwood, Footprint, and Rat River. Nisichawayasihk members have been affected by Manitoba Hydro’s Northern Hydroelectric Project through the Churchill River Diversion developments, which diverted the flow of the Churchill River through control structures and channels into the Rat-Burntwood-Nelson hydrological system. The Diversion flooded land and lakes, thus limiting drastically traditional land and water practices which ultimately impacted negatively on the socio and economic development of the community and many others. This project will document these impacts and prepare a documentary that will educate youth and the general public on the effects of hydro-electrical generation on Indigenous communities.

Flood Agreements 2.0: Resource Revenue Sharing, Innovative Finance and Economic Reconciliation in Hydro-Affected Indigenous Communities in Manitoba

Julio Moraes, Post-Doc with Peter Kulchyski

This project will focus on the ‘hydro-resource partition model’ that Manitoba’s provincial government and Manitoba Hydro adopt during their financial negotiations with hydro impacted Indigenous communities. Moraes seeks to carry out an in-depth assessment of the current financial data models/processes against more inclusive and alternative Resource Revenue Sharing (RRS) models, nation and worldwide. In doing so, the research will provide all parties (provincial government, MH & impacted indigenous communities) involved in the financial negotiations with a portfolio of alternative RRS mechanisms which should enhance policy- and decision-making processes and enable better-informed negotiations for the impacted Indigenous communities. The research study focuses on the community of Sagkeeng Anicinabe First Nation; however, the research aims to be a model for other impacted Indigenous communities.

Grandmothers’ Healing Circle 

Interchurch Council on Hydropower 

This project brought together grandmothers and youth from each of the hydro-affected communities to discuss what can be done for their communities to help youth find their way to that way of life that made the people resilient and strong. As keepers of the water, these women were looking for a way to heal from the devastation of the waterways surrounding their communities and are now being ‘rented out’ to Manitoba Hydro by the Province of Manitoba. This gathering took place in the summer of 2019 at the Grand Rapids Culture Camp and there are plans for another gathering in the future. 

Voicing from Within: Cultivating a Collaborative Arts Curriculum

Dana Vanderburgh, Francisco Ormaza, Alesia Constant, and Kate Braun  

The arts are often overlooked as possible tools to address issues related to changing environments. This is despite the fact that the ability of the arts to generate creative and sustainable social change is well-established in the fields of anthropology, ethnomusicology and cultural studies. Following the growing literature on the connection between climate injustice and artistic expression, this proposal seeks to work with Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists in hydro-impacted communities in Manitoba. The goal of the research is to develop a participatory arts-based curriculum/framework for youth in these communities to express themselves in relation to their environment, social realities, and individual identities.

“In Our Backyard” Legacy Resource Development in Northern and Remote Areas: The Keeyask Experience

Dr. Aimée Craft, University of Ottawa and Dr. Jill Blakely, University of Saskatchewan 

This book project funding was used to acquire media (photography, artwork, and past news publications) for inclusion in a manuscript for publication with the University of Manitoba Press. The collected media will be used throughout the book, as well as in an insert section that will be curated by KC Adams. The book proposes a critical consideration of the Keeyask hydro-electric development project and its impact on the people, beings, and landscape of northern Manitoba.

Tracing Path Dependence: Corporate Development Legacies of Manitoba Hydro 

Katarina Djordjevic, Masters Student, University of Manitoba  

Using a path dependence framework, which looks at how systems persist over time, Katarina’s masters research will examine the province’s hydroelectric history and consider its present and future influence in hydro-development decisions. The main objective is to develop an analytical framework for path dependence and assess the settler-colonial behaviour of Manitoba Hydro through that framework. This research project will produce a critical political ecology account of hydropower development in Manitoba in the form of a Master’s thesis and associated articles.

Water, Spirit and Personhood Indigenous Exchange (Canada-Colombia) 

Aimée Craft, University of Ottawa 

This funding will go towards a project focused on Indigenous knowledge of sacred, cultural and spiritual relationships with water. The purpose is to better understand the agency and personhood of water through international Indigenous knowledge exchanges. The funding would support initial meetings between potential partners in Columbia. It builds on annual water gatherings in Treaty 3 territory, land-based learnings in Grand Rapids, and the Wa Ni Ska Tan annual gatherings, bringing together Indigenous knowledge holders from Manitoba, Northwestern Ontario, and Colombia. 

Health Impacts of Hydro Flooding in OPCN and OCN – Part 2 

Asfia Gurukh Kamal and Alex Wilson, University of Saskatchewan  

This project is part of a two-year postdoctoral research project led by Dr. Asfia Kamal and Dr. Alex Wilson titled “The land should lead us: Acknowledging community viability to practice Indigenous health sovereignty in northern Manitoba”. Research activities will focus on interviews, focus groups, and scheduled community visits and learning trips. The overall research focus is to create a community-first health sovereignty model in two hydro-impacted First Nations. 

Anishinaabe Nibi (Water) Gathering  

First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba  

The Nibi Gathering is a land-based gathering that provides participants with hands-on experience and learnings with Elders, knowledge keepers, academics, students and community members, with a focus on Anishinaabe nibi inaakonigewin (Anishinaabe Water Law). The methodologies utilized are storytelling, hands-on experience, and participatory learning. 

Interfaith Task Force on Northern Hydro Development & the Northern Flood Committee Archival Project 

Dr. Ramona Neckoway, University College of the North  

The aim of this project is threefold: (1) digitizing and cataloguing archived documents from the Interchurch Task Force on Northern Hydro Development; (2) translation/ transcription of audio format(s) that are captured in Cree; and (3) evaluation and analysis of the data collected. The information contained in this collection is an important collection of local history in Manitoba and is significant from a political/policy perspective. Research outcomes include an academic article or chapter for publication.

Impacts of hydropower on fish and wildlife in and around Tataskweyak Cree Nation, Manitoba 

Dr. Stephane McLachlan and Robert Spence  

The overall goal of this project is to influence the narrative surrounding hydro-associated impacts on fish and wildlife, as well as community wellbeing. The objectives of this project are: i) to create a functional and effective monitoring system in Tataskweyak Cree Nation that would be informed by information provided by the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, Wa Ni Ska Tan and other similarly affected Indigenous communities in northern Manitoba; ii) to complement these scientific data with Indigenous Knowledge arising from harvesters who are observing such changes in order to best understand and respond to these impacts; and iii) to increase public awareness regarding these impacts and to pressure Manitoba Hydro and the government to address these concerns. 

How Knowledge about Wild Rice Affects Water Management at Rainy Lake  

Dr. Leland Glenna and Johann Strube, PhD Candidate, Pennsylvania State University  

This research identifies the social reasons why hydro-electrical dams on Rainy Lake (Ontario, Minnesota) continue to destroy much of the lake’s wild rice (Zizania palustris), despite increasing participation of Ojibwe First Nations in the water level governance of the lake. Johann Strube at Pennsylvania State University and Couchiching and Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nations have partnered to study the disconnection between the International Joint Commission’s commitment to restore wild rice in the Rainy Lake watershed and the unsatisfactory outcomes of these efforts.

Integration of Indigenous and Western science to produce value-added fishery products in Grand Rapids / Misipawistik Cree Nation  

Maya Rad-Spice, Post-Doc, Dr. Steohane McLachlan, and Gerald McKay  

The project explores the promise of value-added fish products that are at once sustainable, provide reasonable renumeration to Indigenous fishers, and reflects their cultural traditions. The expected outcomes are: (1) development of new valued-added fish products with high nutritional and economic value; (2) raised awareness of these products within Grand Rapids as well as other members of the Swampy Cree Tribal Council; (3) opportunities to increase the viability of Indigenous fisheries while reducing bycatch; (4) direct inclusion of Indigenous experiences and values in product and market development.

nahmehtawihneek: Mapping a Cree traditional territory 

Dr. Alex Wilson, University of Saskatchewan  

The purpose of this project is to develop a teaching resource that animates historic and current relationships between people, land and waters in the traditional territory of Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN). This project will: 1) develop a resource that preserves the traditional land-based knowledge and experiences of OCN Elders; 2) offer a resource to bring land-based knowledge into classrooms and other community settings; 3) provide a model of how academic institutions and First Nations can work in partnership to protect and mobilize traditional and land-based knowledge, based on the needs of the community. 

Weaving out culture: Honing local arts with youth and Elders in Hydro affected South Indian Lake  

Chief Shirley Ducharme, O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation (OPCN)

OPCN once had a strong culture of beading and sculpting, processing hides, and making moccasins, but community members are now losing their skills. Like many other hydro affected communities, often the community youth are suffering from depression and other mental health issues, and facing unemployment – a constant reality within the community economy post hydro flooding. Recently, a group of youth started a youth club and are taking lessons from community Elders on beading, sculpting, moccasin making and some other traditional craft making. This project will support these activities in order for the youth club to carry on with the lessons.

Archival Ethics of Manitoba Hydro & Provincial Government

Robin Neckoway, Masters Student, University of Manitoba, with Dr. Jarvis Brownlie 

This masters research will focus on the archival ethics of record keeping practices by Manitoba Hydro, and examine the implications and methods behind such practices. Key objectives of the research are to document the state of the archives, identify the location of the records, and examine the archival ethics and the implications of missing records. 

Roles and Impacts of Indigenous Women in the Keeyask Generating Station

Marida Brown, Masters Student, University of Manitoba, with Dr. Peter Kulchyski  

This masters research will focus on the roles and impacts of Indigenous women and the Keeyask Generating Station. One of the main goals of this research is to add to the growing awareness of the inclusion and exclusion of Indigenous women in the hydro development process, the exploitation and racism against Indigenous women, and promote and call attention to the need for change as well as the ways in which this can occur.

Under construction.

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Under construction.

Check back shortly.