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Co-management: an aboriginal response to frontier development

Natcher, David C.



Northern Review



Recognizing that socio-political change will not be achieved through isolation and independence, Aboriginal communities from across Canada are pursuing multi-actor frameworks of co-operation in an effort to redefine existing institutions of power and authority. The extent to which this restructuring is viable has involved the implementation of co-management institutions that have redefined methods of resource management specifically, and local-state relations more generally. That is, beyond specific resource-related issues, institutions of co-management are proving to have broader social, legal and political influence in addressing Aboriginal claims in the state system. Thus the decentralization of state control over Aboriginal homelands should be seen as a cornerstone in the much larger agenda for Aboriginal self-determination. Pulling examples from across Canada, this paper demonstrates that institutions of co-management, between Aboriginal resource users and government agencies, are evolving, and in many cases flourishing in response to an array of resource management issues, often stemming from situations of conflict.

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