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Access protocols and social identity in Kwakwaka'wakw clam management: from colonialism to cultural revitalization

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Thesis type
(Research Project) M.R.M.
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Recent decisions in Aboriginal law and the treaty negotiation process in British Columbia create avenues for First Nations and Canadian governments to co-manage natural resources. Common property theory, cultural and political ecology, and the co-man agement theory derived from them, suggest co-management is more successful where indigenous institutions are articulated and incorporated. This study describes an indigenous system of clam management in the North Vancouver Island Straits of British Columbia, and considers the challenges of integrating this system for future co-management, including incorporating indigenous concepts of social identity. Kwakwaka’wakw clam management is centred around a system of access protocols designed for stewardship of clams, and respecting indigenous authority. Historical forces of colonialism and current government policies influence complex and changing social identities at the community level, which in turn affect access protocol implementation. Concepts of social identity influence how community boundaries are defined and whose decision-making authority is considered legitimate.
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