Local Government and Indigenous Reconciliation in British Columbia: Reforming the Relationship




Barnes, Ben

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The purpose of this research project was to develop a literature review and jurisdictional scan to identify information and research on the relationship between local settler governments and Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia (“Local-Indigenous Relationship”). The primary research question explored in this report is: what is the current state of the literature on the relationship between local governments and Indigenous Peoples and governments? Several secondary questions were asked to answer this primary question. What issues and barriers affect this relationship? What actions are local governments taking (including policies and practices) to improve this relationship? What recommendations can be made to local government entities based on the findings of this research? Using an approach inspired by “two-eyed seeing”, several findings and recommendations were determined. Overall, more research is needed on this topic. The current state of literature indicates three themed groupings of issues and barriers for the Local-Indigenous Relationship: power dynamics, value systems, and economic mobility. Both the literature review and jurisdictional scan provided examples of local government actions. Local governments can create a shared community worldview and develop an interdisciplinary analytical framework inclusive of Indigenous methodologies. Further, they can pursue three themes of policies: communications, services and programming, and development and planning. Based on the findings, a three-stage design policy mix was recommended to implement potential actions. Regardless of actions taken, it was determined that improving the Local-Indigenous Relationship requires a holistic approach, recognizing the three themed groupings of issues and barriers and enabling Indigenous agency and Traditional Knowledge.



local government, Indigenous, decolonization, reconciliation, British Columbia, public policy, settler colonialism, public administration, colonialism