Watersheds 2020: Stepping Stones to Collaborative Watershed Governance
October 15 - 16, 2020
Adapting to new realities, Watersheds 2020, “Stepping Stones to Collaborative Watershed Governance” was a broadly accessible two-day virtual event convened virtually from October 15th to 16th, 2020.
Watersheds 2020 day one featured a plenary session including a keynote address from John Burrows (UVic, Faculty of Law) and a panel discussion with updates from initiatives working ‘on the ground and in the water’. Day two featured multiple sessions for a deeper dive on a selection of themes and emerging issues. Watersheds 2020 provided interactive opportunities throughout the forum to engage and learn from water leaders and champions across B.C. and beyond, share and ask questions, and explore new ideas. In the face of record-breaking droughts and floods to conflicts over use and rights in British Columbia’s, Watersheds 2020 aimed to address current and looming freshwater challenges as well as changing realities that require new partnerships and innovative forms of collaborative governance to respond to the many social and ecological needs of our watersheds.
Coast Salish Elder Florence James (Penelakut Island, B.C.) and Anishinaabe/Métis scholar Dr. Vicki Kelly (Simon Fraser University) opened the Watersheds 2020 virtual meeting space in a thoughtful manner through ceremony, prayer, and teachings that gathered participants together in mind, heart, and spirit.
The “Watershed Governance in Practice – Water Champions Panel” featured water champions involved in existing watershed governance initiatives in order to demonstrate watershed governance in action. Panelists shared their innovative approaches, learnings, and insights.
The “Law’s Indigenous Ethics” Keynote from Dr. John Burrows (Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law, University of Victoria) encouraged participants to think of “law” as a verb—something that we do—and reflect on how we ourselves engage in “law-ing”. In this keynote, Dr. John Burrows explored the Anishinaabe grandmother and grandfather teachings of love, respect, truth, wisdom, honesty, humility, and bravery. Discussants offered insights in the context of watershed governance, DRIPA (B.C.’s application of UNDRIP), and B.C.’s Water Sustainability Act. Acting as a witness, Anishinaabe/Métis scholar Dr. Vicki Kelly (Simon Fraser University) then spoke to what was shared.
After the generous sharing and exchanges that took place at Watersheds 2020, Coast Salish Elder Florence James (Penelakut Island, B.C.) and Anishinaabe/Métis scholar Dr. Vicki Kelly (Simon Fraser University) brought the day to a close through ceremony, prayer, and teachings that gather participants together in mind, heart, and spirit.