"Not the Almighty": Evaluating Aboriginal Influence in Northern Land-Claim Boards


  • Graham White




aboriginal, land claims, co-management, environmental regulation, boards


The settling of comprehensive land claims across Canada’s territorial North has brought about substantial changes in governance. Prominent among these has been the establishment of numerous regulatory and co-management boards dealing with land, wildlife, and environmental issues. These boards were explicitly designed to bring significant aboriginal influence to bear in key land and wildlife decisions. To examine whether the boards have enhanced aboriginal participation and influence in these decision-making processes, factors such as the number and influence of aboriginal board members, the extent of board powers, the independence (financial and otherwise) of the boards, and the boards’ willingness and capacity to incorporate traditional knowledge into their operations are considered. Overall, the evidence supports the conclusion that the land-claim boards represent an important vehicle for substantially enhanced aboriginal involvement in and influence over government decisions affecting the wildlife and environment of traditional aboriginal lands.