Tłı̨chǫ Women and Traditional Knowledge in the Environmental Assessment of the NICO Project proposed by Fortune Minerals Limited

Area of Research: 
Traditional knowledge


To explore the value of Tłı̨chǫ women's traditional knowledge in the environmental assessment of the NICO project proposed by Fortune Minerals Limited.


The objective of this research is to explore the value of Tłı̨chǫ women's traditional knowledge (TK) in the environmental assessment of the NICO project proposed by Fortune Minerals Limited.

Primary research questions include:

  • What types of traditional knowledge were Tłı̨chǫ women sharing in the context of the TK study interviews and public hearings?
  • How did the process of the TK study influence the process and outcomes of the environmental assessment?
  • How did people gain the authority to provide their specific knowledge?
  • How was women’s connection with de` (the experience and travel on the land) expressed in the environmental assessment?
  • How was women’s knowledge mobilized from the traditional knowledge study into the regulatory context?

Group 1) Analyzing TK Study Interview transcripts
Data that was collected by the Firelight Group for the Tłı̨chǫ Government in the TK study will be requested from the Tłı̨chǫ Government for analysis in the final thesis. This data includes audio recordings, transcripts and spatial mapping data from individual interviews. The analysis will be focused on the transcripts of the interviews, which will include textual thematic coding of the interview transcripts in an excel spreadsheet table. The spatial data will be used to compare what was said in the TK study transcript and what was subsequently mapped.

The TK study data is considered the property of the Tłı̨chǫ Government, and as such the Principal Investigator (PI) will be required to obtain permission and abide by any other community protocols to use the data in my final analysis. If individual consent is required by each participant from the original interviews in the TK study, the Tłı̨chǫ Government will assist in obtaining that consent. For publication purposes, efforts will be taken to protect those who may be in a vulnerable position since this data is being analyzed for a different purpose than when it was originally collected. This includes measures such as not naming individuals in the thesis, discussing an overview of issues being reported, analyzing the questions asked by the researchers and analyzing if the information within the transcripts to see if it reinforces gendered assumptions of land use practice or refutes it.

Group 2) Analyzing Public Hearing Transcripts
The transcripts from the environmental assessment of the NICO Project proposed by Fortune Minerals (EA0809-004) will be analyzed. The analysis will include textual thematic coding in an excel spreadsheet table. Because this is publicly accessible data, permission is not required to access and analyze these files. The Tłı̨chǫ Government will be aware that the PI will be analyzing this data.

Group 3) Interviewing the authors of the TK study
The PI will be contacting the authors of the TK study to ask them if they would like to participate in an interview for this research project. The PI will read to them the script and if they are interested, will ask them if the interview can be scheduled at their convenience. They will be asked if they prefer to have an interview over the phone or another web-based technology, such as Skype.

Participants will be explicitly asked if they agree to the audio recording of the interview, and if their interview may be transcribed for analysis. Additionally, they will be asked if quotes may be used from their transcript in the thesis, and whether or not they would like their names included in the final write-up. Where they do not want their names associated with their data, they will not be identified as an author and direct quotes will not be used. Participants will have a chance to review all of their quotes and ideas used in the thesis before the final submission. They will be reminded that they may end the interview at any time and withdraw at a future date. The PI will be taking notes in a notebook as the interviews are taking place. They will be taken in the same notebook for both interviews. Audio recordings will be taken on a personal laptop and backed up onto a hard drive after each interview. This will all be stated on the consent form. The interviews will start by asking a bit about their background as an icebreaker, and move into the interview questions. Halfway through the interview, the PI will do a check-in to see if the participants need a rest or are comfortable with the interview so far.

This research is being conducted with the permission of the Tłı̨chǫ Government, who will be instrumental in guiding the research process. They will act in an advisory role to the PI throughout the process and duration of the project.

This project is expected to benefit the Tłı̨chǫ Government and report authors by exploring how this environmental assessment created an avenue for certain knowledge holders to be heard, and potentially for certain knowledge holders to be silenced. This can be beneficial for the community when and if they approach similar projects or processes in the future, and how to possibly navigate through such issue. 

The fieldwork for this study was conducted from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016.

View On Aurora Research Institute Database