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Water Dialogues

We can shape a new path forward LISTENDOWNLOAD

Water Dialogues is about creating space to share and listen to the stories, knowledge and voices that are too often absent in the discussion around water in Canada. Based on audio-recordings from a national Water Gathering event that brought together First Nations, Inuit, Métis and other Canadian water researchers and experts from across the country, this podcast project explores our conversations around the need to bring our diverse knowledge systems together to address the complex and increasingly critical water issues we face today.

The creation of this podcast was supported by a knowledge translation grant from the Canadian Water Network, a Canadian Network Centre of Excellence.

Music credits: Andy Frech (intro); Will Bangs (“We hear things so differently”); Podington Bear (“Swale”, “Pure Swell”, “Memory Wind”, “Loam”, “Satellite bloom”, “Euphoric”); Kai Engel (“Curtains are Always Drawn”, “Silence”, “Highway to the Stars”); Alex Fitch (“The Tide”); Monamine (“I am only leaving so I could come back again”); Jon Luc Hefferman (“Magnate”); Blue Dot Sessions (“Vittoro”)


Decolonization is really about reorienting ourselves, so that we can create inclusive spaces, that we can allow diverse approaches, that we can respect differing view points.

Khosrow Farahbakhsh


Netukulimk is a Mi’kmaq term for taking what you need for today, but leaving enough for future generations.

Angeline Gillis


These are powerful, powerful gatherings. And I hope as a newcomer Canadian that this is the future for our country, of coming together and working together.

Cheryl Bartlett

Help spread the word: #H2ODialogues on Twitter


This collaborative podcast initiative is part of my MSc thesis and builds on a larger Canadian Water Network-funded project, Examining Methods and Models for Integrative Indigenous and Western Knowledge to Inform Water Management and Research in Canada, that I had the honour and privilege of being a part of.

It represents an effort to share, in a narrative audio-documentary form, the key messages and themes of the project through the voices, stories and experience of those who participated in the second of two national Water Gathering events that were held as part of that project. The podcast was created from the recorded proceedings of the Water Gathering, as well as short interviews with individual participants.

I have learned so much from the people and the process involved in this work, and I remain in awe of the beautiful and profound ways in which these teachings continue to unfold in my life. I am deeply thankful for the gift of this project’s journey, and hope that by contributing to the assembly this podcast I am able to offer something in return.

Lindsay Day
MSc Candidate
University of Guelph

About the Larger Research Project

Examining Methods and Models of Integrative Indigenous and Western Knowledge for Water Research and Management in Canada

The purpose of this 18-month project was to identify and evaluate promising methods and models for effectively and equitably implementing Indigenous and Western knowledge in water research and management in Canada, by exploring what has worked (and, perhaps more importantly, what has not), and why.

Two national Water Gathering events were held: The first to identify shared concerns and inform the direction of the project, and the second a year later to return together to discuss the research findings and the draft summary report. Both gatherings served as a space to share stories, build and strengthen our relationships with one another, and facilitate co-learning.

The final project report, Living with Water: Integrative Indigenous and Western Knowledge Approaches to Transform Water Research and Management, weaves findings from a systematic realist literature review, in-depth interviews, and insights from Water Gathering participants and the project’s National Advisory Committee.

Through the project, key recommendations for three different audiences were developed:

Principal Investigators:

Heather Castleden, Associate Professor, Queen’s University;
Ashlee Cunsolo, Associate Professor, Cape Breton University;
Sherilee Harper, Assistant Professor, University of Guelph;
Debbie Martin, Associate Professor, Dalhousie University

Recommendations for POLICY-MAKERS


Recommendations for RESEARCHERS


Recommendations for FUNDERS



Podcast Editing and Production Team

Lindsay Day (Project Lead)
Tim Anaviapik-Soucie
Heather Castleden
Ashlee Cunsolo
Sherilee Harper

Catherine Hart
Debbie Martin
Clifford Paul
George Russell, Jr.

Core Research Team (larger project)

Heather Castleden

Nominated Principal Investigator
Associate Professor, Queen’s University, Canada Research Chair in Reconciling Relations for Health, Environments and Communities

Ashlee Cunsolo

Principal Investigator
Associate Professor, Cape Breton University, Canada Research Chair in Determinants of Healthy Communities

Sherilee Harper

Principal Investigator
Assistant Professor, University of Guelph

Debbie Martin

Principal Investigator
Associate Professor, Dalhousie University

Catherine Hart

Project Manager
Health, Environment and Communities Lab, Queen’s University

Lindsay Day

Research Assistant
MSc Candidate, University of Guelph

Robert Stefanelli

Research Assistant
MA Candidate, Queen’s University

Kaitlin Lauridsen

Research Assistant
MPH Simon Fraser University

Project Partners and Participants (Second Water Gathering)

Tim Anaviapik-Soucie

Community-Based Water Researcher, Pond Inlet, Nunavut

Cheryl Bartlett

Retired Professor, Cape Breton University

Kerry Black

PhD Candidate, University of Guelph

Khosrow Farahbakhsh

Retired Professor, University of Guelph

Guy Freedman

Water Gathering Facilitator 
President, First Peoples Group
Metis from Flin Flon, Manitoba

Angeline Gillis

Eskasoni First Nation
Senior Director, Mi’kmaw Conservation Group

Christina Goldhar

Environmental Protection Analyst, Nunatsiavut Government

Will Goodon

Director, South-West Region, Manitoba Metis Federation
Metis from Turtle Mountains, Manitoba

David Heinrichs

Natural Resources Coordinator, Manitoba Metis Federation

Stewart Hill

God’s Lake First Nation
PhD Student, University of Manitoba

Irving LeBlanc

Assembly of First Nations
Odawa and a member of Wiikwemikoong Unceded Indian Reserve

Diana Lewis

Sipekne’katik First Nation
PhD, Lecturer, Dalhousie University

Elder Albert Marshall

Moose Clan of the Mi’kmaw Nation; Eskasoni, Unama’ki

Clifford Paul

Membertou First Nation
Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources

Ken Paul

Maliseet First Nation
Director of Fisheries at Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs

Erika Perrier

Research & Education Officer, Mi’kmaw Conservation Group

George Russell, Junior

NunatuKavut Community Council
Environment and Resource Manager with NunatuKavut

Bob Sandford

EPCOR Chair for Water and Climate Security, United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health

Jamal Shirley

Research Programs and Partnerships, Nunavut Research Institute

Inez Shiwak

Community-Based Researcher, My Word Digital Storytelling, Rigolet, Nunatsiavut

Corrine Schuster-Wallace

Senior Research Fellow, United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health

Tuma Young

Malagawatch First Nation
Assistant Professor, Cape Breton University

Other Project Partners and Participants

Stephen Augustine
Robert Bailey
Cecilia Brooks
Kate Cave
Ivy Chan
Sue Chiblow
Tim Heron
Amy Hudson
Rob Jamieson

Bu Lam
Georgina Liberty
Audrey Mayes
John Morrisseau
Jo-Anne Muise Lawless
Merrell-Ann Phare
Justin Stapon
Constantine Tikhonov


Sincerest thanks to all the committed project partners and participants involved throughout the duration of the larger research project, and to the second Water Gathering participants for sharing their words, wisdom and stories with us through the Water Dialogues podcast. Thanks to the Wabano Aboriginal Health Centre for welcoming us in their beautiful space for that Water Gathering, to Guy Freedman for facilitating our discussion, and to Elders Barbara Hill and Albert Dumont for their stories, teachings and opening and closing prayers and songs.

Special thanks also to my academic advisors Sherilee Harper and Ashlee Cunsolo, the rest of core research team, and the members of our podcast editing and production team. Your support, encouragement and suggestions have been so integral to this podcast project.

A huge thank you to Jeremy Kessler and Mach Sound Studios for audio awesomeness; and Margie Taylor, Erin Noel, and Michael Ridley for audio-documentary advice. Thanks to my sister Megan Barnes for helping to get this website set up, and to the Canadian Water Network for investing in this knowledge mobilization initiative.

Great things happen when we work together! Thank you!!!

Your feedback on this podcast initiative is welcome.

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