University of Saskachewan

David C. Natcher

Indigenous Land Management Institute

The mandate of the ILMI is to "Work with Indigenous peoples to realize a more prosperous future through optimal land and resource management."

As the land base under Aboriginal jurisdiction continues to expand, significant opportunities are becoming available for Canada's Aboriginal peoples. However, with these opportunities has also come significant responsibility, as Aboriginal peoples assume a greater role in the management and administration of land and resources now under their jurisdiction. As Aboriginal leaders readily admit, owning the land is not enough, but rather the land must be managed in ways that provide the maximum economic, social and cultural benefit to Aboriginal peoples. Thus one of the most pressing needs of Aboriginal peoples is gaining access to research-based information that can be used in making informed land management decisions. Responding to this need, the Indigenous Land Management Institute (ILMI) has been established at the University of Saskatchewan. The ILMI brings research, teaching, outreach and engagement activities in the area of indigenous land and resource management together under one umbrella unit.

The research program of the ILMI addresses the applied research needs of Aboriginal communities in the area of land and resource management. Research activities address the expressed needs of Aboriginal nations for relevant and practical information that can inform policy-making, support self-determined resource management objectives, and enhance their own land management practices. The research of the ILMI focuses on three primary themes:

Theme I: Wealth Creation

Wealth creation can be most readily conceptualized as a process by which Aboriginal peoples are able to improve their overall standard of living. Research under this theme includes the identification of obstacles and opportunities in developing new business development enterprises, the sustainability of northern mixed-economies (wage and subsistence activities), and ‘Best-Practices' for industry-community partnerships, particularly in the agricultural, energy, forestry and mining sectors.

Theme II: Environmental Sustainability

Research conducted under Theme II focuses on developing methods for incorporating Aboriginal values, rights, knowledge and institutions into environmental management processes. This includes the recognition of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) as critical components of sustainable environmental management.

Theme III: Governance of Land

Research conducted under Theme III focuses on developing and evaluating institutional structures and processes leading to sustainable indigenous land management institutions. By focusing on governance issues and decision-making processes, research will identify the historical conditions and cultural precedents inherent in Aboriginal governance while considering the nature and effectiveness of contemporary land management systems. 

Click here to visit the ILMI website