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Master of Regional Planning (M.R.P.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Indigenous Land Rights, Land Tenure Systems, Cultural Heritage Values, James Bay Cree, Maori
This thesis relies on an interdisciplinary framework to conduct an investigation of seminal national policies and planning processes in New Zealand and Quebec Province, Canada related to sovereignty, indigenous land rights, and customary land tenure systems. Theoretical frameworks for this research include a comparative analysis of European legislative systems and traditional planning frameworks in relation to indigenous governance systems and land tenure systems for the Maori (NZ) and James Bay Cree (QC). Through interviews and experiential knowledge I will document tools and techniques that these indigenous communities use to navigate complex cross-cultural policy and planning processes for their own advocacy of cultural heritage values. From the Maori perspective, cultural heritage values include the concept and principles of kaitikatanga. James Bay Cree cultural heritage values include the concept and guiding principles embedded in Eeyou Iyihtiwin. These cultural heritage values represent abstract concepts and guiding principles that are embedded in and gain meaning from local context, cultural knowledge and customary traditions. The Maori and James Bay Cree share a similar orientation to the meaning and importance of land. Together these indigenous communities view land as the foundation for collective and individual identity and cultural traditions. From this perspective and meaning of land, the Maori and James Bay Cree recognize that people are a part of a greater interconnected system that spans across physical and metaphysical spaces. In practice, native or customary land tenure systems are based on cultural heritage values that support a spirit of reciprocity with an underlying expectation that a balanced system will provide for all life. This analysis may provide a new cross-cultural framework for policy and planning processes to provide opportunities for fair negotiation of sustainable land tenure systems and natural resource management.