Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples defines how the duty to consult should be approached during natural resource development. Using principles of Free, Prior and Informed Consent, this paper explores the development of a renewable energy project on the traditional lands of Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation. Hinton, Alberta, is in the preliminary stages of a geothermal feasibility study, and the Government of Alberta has designated this project as a case study from which to build the province’s geothermal regulation. However, the Indigenous communities in the vicinity of the proposed project have not been formally consulted regarding the proposed energy development projects which may affect the water resources in the Athabasca Watershed, as well as land-based activities. There have not been any indications from the Government for a timeline to conduct consultations on this energy development project, yet the feasibility study is still underway. I will explore how Indigenous community-led research can decolonize the consultation process, not only for the proposed geothermal energy development in Alberta, but also for all extraction-based activities on the traditional lands of those Indigenous peoples who are obliged to engage with the nation state of Canada. In particular, oral histories and protocols for geothermal energy will be used to inform policy and land use, as well as to communicate risk and scientific expertise from Indigenous and western epistemologies as components of community engagement strategies prior to and throughout the development of a geothermal energy project.