Author: Hoffmann, Tanja
Despite 150 years of transformative environmental, social, and economic change Aboriginal Peoples in Canada maintain their distinctive identities and cultures. The perseverance of indigenous peoples is of particular interest to scholars studying resilience. Defined variously as a process, trait, or outcome, resilience is a malleable concept used to help explain how individuals, communities, or interlinked social-ecological systems respond to change. I use mental health and ecology-based resilience models to examine how the q́íćəý (Katzie) First Nation of southwestern British Columbia responded to changes imposed by the Golden Ears Bridge—a six-lane bridge built through the centre of their traditional fishing grounds. I conclude that Katzie responses to change, including those imposed by the Golden Ears Bridge, illustrate how Katzie cultural values serve as resilience pivots. These resilience pivots act as the stable core of Katzie culture, helping to perpetuate Katzie identity despite historical and ongoing physical, social, and economic transformations. I expand resilience discourse concerning power and agency via a critical analysis of the Golden Ears Bridge Benefit Agreement negotiation. I conclude that despite the power imbalances that influenced the outcomes of Golden Ears Bridge Benefit Agreement negotiation, Katzie agency continues to influence power dynamics at grassroots and at broader sociopolitical scales, albeit slowly and incrementally. As Katzie and other First Nations achieve greater decision-making power they challenge ideological imperatives that prioritize a prevailing definition of progress as economic growth and urban expansion.
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Thesis advisor: Welch, John R.
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