Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Richmond, Chantelle A.M.


Indigenous communities globally are initiating inspiring ways to practice self-determination over land and cultural practices. For the past few years, Biigtigong Nishnaabeg (Pic River First Nation) has undertaken canoe trips through its traditional territory along the Biigtig (Pic River). The purpose of the 2017 journey was to rename places (i.e. mountains, rivers, portages) along the route in Nishnaabemoen (Ojibway language) as a means of enacting self-determination in their territory. Supported by volunteers, five youth were hired as Traditional Knowledge Gatherers to complete this unique journey. This thesis qualitatively examined perceptions among canoe journey participants (n=9). Building upon the concept of environmental repossession, in-depth interviews explored this journey as a space for: learning and practicing Indigenous Knowledge; relationships; and, connection to land. In addition to articulating these components, participants identified the trip as a space to learn about their ancestors and community’s history. The Biigtig was the space to assert Indigenous rights to land and express Indigenous identity.