Doctor of Philosophy
School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences
Sisco, Ashley, Honouring the Kaswenta (Two Row Wampum): A Framework For Consultation With Indigenous Communities In Canada and Australia, Doctor of Philosophy thesis, School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Wollongong, 2015. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/4345
Meaningful and ongoing consultations are critical to Indigenous selfdetermination in Canada and Australia. Consultations are the processes by which organizations and Indigenous communities meet to discuss actions that could potentially affect Indigenous rights or interests. This education thesis is about a community-based partnership study that applies the Aterihwihsón:sera Kaswénta (Two Row Wampum) as a relational framework to investigate how two Indigenous communities across the world— the Carcross/Tagish First Nation (C/TFN) in Yukon, Canada and the Narungga Community of Point Pearce (NCPP) in South Australia—can create and implement online tools to support consultation processes compatible with Indigenous legal traditions, and facilitate more meaningful, equitable, and effective consultations.
In total, 64 participants from the two aforementioned communities/countries took part in this study. Thematic content analysis of this data, along with literature, participant observation, and digital ethnography revealed that there is an overall lack of consultation with the C/TFN, NCPP, and other Indigenous communities. Moreover, it found that existing consultations tend to be ambiguous, fraught with process breakdowns, tokenistic, colonizing, oppressive, ineffective, and lacking community engagement.
While the study suggests that technology can be an important tool (in addition to in-person meetings) in consultations, and several leading practices were identified, the key finding is that the most significant determining factor of the meaningfulness of consultations is relationships. Within the Kaswénta framework, a relationship-based approach is characterized by three interconnected principles: 1) equality, 2) distinction and self-determination, and 3) harmonious, and interdependent co-existence. Time was also shown to be an important element.
This education thesis research has helped to build Information Communication Technology (ICT), consultation, and research capacity among the C/TFN and NCPP participants. It has also helped to build a relationship among these communities and the University of Wollongong that stands to foster future projects of importance. Moreover, it contributes to the body of Indigenous, academic, and practical knowledge on Indigenous consultations and e learning in Canada and Australia, including in a comparative context. Perhaps most significantly, it honours the Kaswénta and introduces it as a relational framework for meaningful consultations with Indigenous communities.