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An Examination of Drinking Water in Two Indigenous Communities in Canada

  • Author / Creator
    Spicer, Neal
  • For decades, many Indigenous communities across Canada have dealt with poor levels of water security and associated drinking water problems both within the home and while on the land, hunting, fishing and participating in cultural events. Yet, despite this, little academic research has been conducted on this subject. Most of the studies examined the contaminants involved and the causes of contamination, or infrastructure issues related to drinking water. While these are very important considerations, they fail to address the larger scope of the problem such as the political environment, the social position, and the reduced capacity of Indigenous communities and how these have created conditions in many communities similar to those seen in developing nations around the world. In total, 99 semi-structured interviews were conducted over a two year period in two Indigenous communities (Dene Tha’ First Nations & K’atl’odeeche First Nations) to better understand the variables that underlie participants’ water consumption patterns and what factors influence their choices. The data was analyzed to further develop the existing research that has examined variables that influence Indigenous water consumption patterns. Overall, the results indicate that both communities consume far more bottled water than the Canadian average and support previous research findings for many of the variables that influence people’s consumption behaviours. In particular, the Dene Tha’ respondents indicated much higher levels of concern over their drinking water which corresponded to increased levels of perceived risk and bottled water consumption. Additionally, the research findings provided a basis to develop the concept of Indigenous water security and the various components involved. This will allow Indigenous communities to better understand and address levels of water security and the problems that many associate with drinking water in their communities across Canada.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2020
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-ycnk-fd34
  • License
    Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.