Congratulations on your successful MA defence: Janelle Kuntz

Notice of the Final Oral Examination for the Degree of Master of Arts




BSc (University of Alberta, 2012)


“Tłįchǫ Women and the Environmental Assessment of the NICO Project proposed by Fortune Minerals Limited”


Department of Anthropology


Monday, August 22, 2016


Cornett Building

Room A319


Supervisory Committee:

Dr. Margo Matwychuk, Department of Anthropology, University of Victoria (Supervisor)

Dr. Brian Thom, Department of Anthropology, UVic (Member)

External Examiner:

Dr. Leslie Saxon, Department of Linguistics, UVic

Chair of Oral Examination:

Dr. James McDavid, School of Public Administration, UVic



This thesis reviews the participation of Tłįchǫ women in the environmental assessment (EA) of the NICO project proposed by Fortune Minerals Limited. Undertaken in 2012 in the Northwest Territories, this particular EA saw a precedential engagement between traditional knowledge and western science. Although this EA did not take a gendered approach, Tłįchǫ women’s stories and participation in the EA supported the Tłįchǫ Government’s interests throughout the review process and in the final mitigation measures. Popular scholarship does not typically cast Indigenous women as participants in or beneficiaries of EAs and resource extraction projects. Results from this thesis support more recent scholarship that urges for an ethnographic and contextual analysis of each scenario. Ethnographic methods helped me to reveal the culturally specific, diverse and complex ways Tłįchǫ women participated and shared their stories in the Fortune Minerals EA. Tłįchǫ women’s stories, I found, were important and relevant to the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board’s assessment of the potential social and ecological impacts of the NICO project. I conclude that this review is exemplary of Indigenous women’s agency within a regulatory process and offer suggestions for how to incorporate a gender-based analysis into future EA processes.