Indigenous co-principal investigator:

  • Diane Giroux, AAROM Coordinator, Akaitcho Territory Government | | 867-394-3313

Academic co-principal investigators:

  • Corinne Schuster-Wallace, Global Institute for Water Security & Department of Geography & Planning, University of Saskatchewan| | 306-966-2103
  • Lalita Bharadwaj, School of Public Health, University of Saskatchewan | | 306-966-5553

Communities involved:

Akaitcho Territory Government (ATG) represents five Dene communities – Deninu K’ue First Nation, Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation, Smith’s Landing First Nation, and Yellowknives Dene First Nation (Dettah and Ndilo).

Project overview

The problem:

While many Indigenous communities recognize Western Science (WS) standards for drinking water quality, potability as a concept is not sufficient enough to address the Indigenous concepts of “good” or “bad” in relation to water. The purpose of this collaborative research project is to develop Traditional Knowledge (TK) indicators. 

The plan:

This project will explore the similarities and differences between WS indicators of what is considered “safe to drink” and the TK concept of what is “good to drink”. This will be achieved through an exploration of water-related health, how human health (encompassing physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional health) is affected by “good” and “bad” water, development of appropriate TK indicators, and community case studies.

The outcome:

Through this process and its outcomes, communities will be able to better understand and assess water-related health in Indigenous communities through a TK system and be able to share this with government agencies currently responsible for water management, remediation, and quality monitoring.