Article Title

Implementing Indigenous and Western Knowledge Systems in Water Research and Management (Part 1): A Systematic Realist Review to Inform Water Policy and Governance in Canada


Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis/Metis) peoples in Canada experience persistent and disproportionate water-related challenges compared to non-Indigenous Canadians. These circumstances are largely attributable to enduring colonial policies and practices. Attempts for redress have been unsuccessful, and Western science and technology have been largely unsuccessful in remedying Canada’s water-related challenges. A systematic review of the academic and grey literature on integrative Indigenous and Western approaches to water research and management identified 279 items of which 63 were relevant inclusions; these were then analyzed using a realist review tool. We found an emerging trend of literature in this area, much of which called for the rejection of tokenism and the development of respectful nation-to-nation relationships in water research, management, and policy.


Tremendous thanks go to our National Advisory Committee as well as to those who participated in the Water Gatherings for your significant guidance on our research design and process, our preliminary findings, and our recommendations. We particularly wish to thank Mr. Guy Freedman, Elders Barbara Dumont-Hill, Maria Campbell, and Albert Dumont for helping us undertake this work with good hearts and minds, and helping us to see ourselves, and our relationship to water, in new and wonderful ways. Thank you to all those who passed on their knowledge from generation to generation, to those who shared this knowledge with us, and to those who will take this knowledge forward. The authors would also like to thank the Canadian Water Network for funding this knowledge integration project, and we would like to thank the Canadian Water Network’s Research Management Committee for their ongoing feedback throughout the project.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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