Environmental justice and dam management : a case study in the Saskatchewan River Delta
This thesis explores whether environmental justice can attenuate the burdens attributed to the operation of the E.B. Campbell Dam experienced by downstream Indigenous communities in the Saskatchewan River Delta. Environmental justice for Indigenous people who are affected by dam management is important for three reasons. First, Indigenous people often experience environmental burdens of dam management disproportionately. Second, Indigenous people are often excluded from dam decision-making. Third, when Indigenous people are included in dam decision-making, their rights and values are sometimes misrecognized within decision-making processes. While exploring environmental justice for Indigenous people in the context of dam management, this thesis contributes to a recommendation that empirical studies of environmental justice should describe the underlying causes of environmental injustice. This thesis contributes to this recommendation by documenting how power relations challenge environmental justice for Indigenous people in dam decision-making. A place-based, interdisciplinary methodology was taken to clarify an environmental justice pathway for downstream Indigenous communities in the Saskatchewan River Delta. This methodology involved analyses of hydrometric data, interview data and legal and policy documents. The findings of this thesis include that Indigenous people, through their meaningful participation in dam decision-making, could help government representatives recognize the environmental burdens of dam management. However, imbalances in power between Indigenous people and government representatives could constrain Indigenous people’s meaningful participation. The implication of these findings is that if power relations are accounted for in decision-making, the meaningful participation of Indigenous people can facilitate the recognition and remediation of environmental burdens attributed to dam management.
DegreeMaster of Environment and Sustainability (M.E.S.)
DepartmentSchool of Environment and Sustainability
ProgramEnvironment and Sustainability
SupervisorSteelman, Toddi A.
CommitteeReed, Maureen G.; Jardine, Timothy D.
Copyright DateDecember 2015