Areas of Expertise
- Inter-disciplinary/multi-disciplinary research and writing
- Social science research (esp. qualitative methods, fieldwork)
- Academic and technical writing (incl. inter-disciplinary & team projects)
- Facilitating the use of indigenous knowledge and values in planning contexts
- Use of ArcView 9.x to produce GIS databases and maps
- Aboriginal peoples; indigenous knowledge; land tenure; common property
- Boreal Canada; southern Africa
- PhD (1997) Anthropology, University of Toronto
- MA (1989) Anthropology, University of Toronto
- BA (1988) Anthropology and African Studies, University of Toronto
Recent Professional Activities
Project: Updating Canada’s World Heritage Tentative List
May 2016 – October 2016
The Parks Canada Agency manages Canada’s World Heritage sites and periodically updates the Tentative List of sites that have good potential to be inscribed as World Heritage Sites (see http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/progs/spm-whs/sec06/c.aspx).
Tasks: Conducted research and writing to help Parks Canada improve the readiness of Indigenous peoples and their partners to develop Tentative List applications. Produced a report that: (1) discusses World Heritage requirements and processes as they specifically relate to indigenous heritage in Canada; (2) identifies seven indigenous heritage themes that have the greatest likelihood of success in an application to Canada’s Tentative List; (3) assesses potential opportunities for indigenous heritage on the World Heritage List, based on an analysis of World Heritage criteria and their application, and on a review of indigenous heritage in the Americas that is already inscribed on the World Heritage List. The report includes a glossary of World Heritage terms with plain-language explanations.
» Super: Marc Johnson, Indigenous Affairs and Cultural Heritage Directorate, Parks Canada Agency
» Final Report (61pp.): Updating Canada’s Tentative List: Environmental Scan of Indigenous Heritage
» Summary document (14pp.): Indigenous Heritage Applications to Canada’s World Heritage Tentative List
Project: Pimachiowin Aki World Heritage Nomination
March 2010 – September 2017
Pimachiowin Aki is a partnership of four First Nations and two provincial governments joining as a non-profit corporation to establish a UNESCO World Heritage Site <www.pimachiowinaki.org>. The original (2013) Pimachiowin Aki World Heritage nomination was deferred by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee (see decision 37 COM 8B.19). The Pimachiowin Aki Corporation worked with WHC advisors to develop a new nomination.
Tasks: Conducted contract writing and editing tasks associated with production of the final nomination document and replies to queries from the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Original content included: description and history of cultural heritage values associated with the site; national and international comparative analysis for cultural values demonstrating the site’s Outstanding Universal Value from a comparative perspective; a detailed summary of all professional reports commissioned by the Pimachiowin Aki Corporation to document cultural heritage values.
» Lead: Gordon Jones, Pimachiowin Aki Project Manager
» Report: Nomination available at http://www.pimachiowinaki.org (full comparative analysis not yet publicly available)
Project: Common Ground Research Forum Book
January 2015 – October 2015
The Common Ground Research Forum is a consortium of researchers from the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg, municipal and First Nations leaders, and local community organizations. Between 2009 and 2014 the consortium conducted collaborative research to better understand and support cross-cultural collaboration and social learning in the Kenora region, including shared governance of the lands and waters.
Tasks: Led writing and production of a plain-language book that summarizes the results of 16 community-led projects and 10 graduate student projects (theses). The book is currently in layout and is expected to be available soon (will update when ready).
» Lead: Dr. John Sinclair, Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba
Project: Indigenous Ecological Classification of Wetlands
March 2007 – November 2011
A multi-year project that developed descriptions of wetland values that First Nations and Métis people in the Athabasca oil sands region want to see restored through future oil sands reclamation processes. The project was conducted for the Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA), a multi-stakeholder non-governmental organization representing government, regulatory bodies, Aboriginal groups, industry, and environmental groups (cemaonline.ca).
Tasks: As project lead in the phase two pilot study, and co-lead with Iain Davidson-Hunt in the phase one scoping study, I conducted research through focus groups, interviews and field visits. Wetland values were identified in three subject areas — customary use, ecological and cultural values — and documented in narrative text, a GIS database and imagery.
» Report: Phase One: 45 pages (not yet publicly available) | Phase Two: 53+30 pages (not yet publicly available)
Project: Whitefeather Forest Recreation Resource Inventory
January 2011 – April 2011
Tasks: Produced an inventory of natural and cultural features that may provide opportunities for recreation within the Whitefeather Forest Cheemuhnuhcheecheekuhtaykeehn (protected areas), through a review of existing data, discussions with OMNR staff, and personal experience with the Whitefeather Forest. The Recreation Resource Inventory is a regulatory requirement for joint resource management in the Whitefeather Forest by the Whitefeather Forest Community Resource Management Authority and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry <www.whitefeatherforest.ca>.
» Lead: Doug Gilmore, Whitefeather Forest Cheemuhnuhcheecheekuhtaykeehn Project Manager
» Report: 47+30 pages (not publicly available)
Project: Forest Management Planning Manual Revisions for the Whitefeather Forest
December 2008 – April 2009
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) developed revisions to the Forest Management Planning Manual to incorporate the provisions of the Declaration Order for Environmental Assessment Act coverage for forest management on the Whitefeather Forest (next project described).
Tasks: Worked with the OMNRF on behalf of the Whitefeather Forest Management Corporation (now called Whitefeather Forest Community Resource Management Authority) of Pikangikum First Nation to develop text of final revisions.
» Lead: Dan Pyke, Manager, Ministry of Natural Resources, Forests Division
» Report: Document posted on Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights <http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca>, Registry Number 010-5349 (see Part F, “Additional Requirements for the Whitefeather Forest”)
Project: Declaration Order for Environmental Assessment Act Coverage
January 2007 – January 2009
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) developed a request to the Ontario Ministry of Environment for a Declaration Order for Environmental Assessment Act coverage for forest management on the Whitefeather Forest, which at the time was north of the area of associated with EA Act coverage for forest management.
Tasks: Worked with the OMNR on behalf of the Whitefeather Forest Management Corporation of Pikangikum First Nation to develop text of proposal that reflected shared commitments in “Keeping the Land” (next project described) to integrate Pikangikum First Nation customary stewardship practices and indigenous knowledge in forest management, and ensure a continuous supply of woodland caribou habitat.
Lead: Alissa Sugar, Special Project Officer, Ministry of the Environment
Report: Document posted on Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights <http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca>, Registry Number 010-3417
Project: Whitefeather Forest Land Use Strategy
January 2004 – July 2006
The Whitefeather Forest Management Corporation of Pikangikum First Nation developed, in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR), their plan for management of the 2.2 million hectare Whitefeather Forest. This plan, “Keeping the Land”, was the first (Aboriginal) community-based land use plan in Ontario.
Tasks: Worked with the OMNR and Pikangikum elders to develop text that reflected the cultural teachings and community priorities of Pikangikum Anishinaabe people. I also took the lead on layout and production of the final document. In addition, I assumed a key role in the production of bilingual (English-Ojibwe) posters used in the open houses leading up to the final land use strategy.
Lead: Alex Peters, President, Whitefeather Forest Management Corporation
Report: Document available at http://www.whitefeatherforest.com
Project: Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation Specific Land Claim
March 2004 – July 2004
Tasks: Drafted proposal for a community-based special values documentation programme to support the First Nation’s specific claim associated with loss of customary use and cultural values on the Wabigoon River.
Report: “Traditional Land Use in the Wabigoon Lake Cultural Landscape: Special Values Documentation in support of Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation Specific Land Claim”, submitted to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.
Project: Species at Risk in the Whitefeather Forest
March 2004 – March 2010
Research on woodland caribou and lake sturgeon was conducted through the Whitefeather Forest Management Corporation (WFMC) of Pikangikum First Nation, northwestern Ontario, to support joint planning capacity between the First Nation and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, as part of the First Nation’s Whitefeather Forest Initiative <http://www.whitefeatherforest.com>.
Tasks: As research coordinator for the WFMC, I secured funding, oversaw research and authored final reports for several projects. Research was multi-disciplinary and focussed on explaining indigenous knowledge perspectives, in addition to developing GIS data that can be made available for land use planning purposes.
Report: e.g., “Keeping Woodland Caribou on the Land: Cross-Cultural Research in the Whitefeather Forest,” June 16, 2006, 35+4 pages and 5 maps (available at http://www.whitefeatherforest.com); media report at http://www.innovationalberta.com/article.php?articleid=842.
Project: Lake Abitibi Model Forest
2001 – 2005
Contract researcher and member of Social Sciences Advisory Committee, tasked with defining the scope and mandate of social science research in the Model Forest and developing a set of potential projects to be considered for the future.
Tasks: Lead for a Local and Indigenous Knowledge Documentation project, one of two projects passed by the LAMF Board. The project sought to define through dialogue with local and Indigenous peoples, including Moose Cree First Nation, the scope of future potential knowledge-based research to be conducted by the LAMF. Also, project lead for a baseline survey on Non-Timber Forest Products use in the Lake Abitibi Model Forest.
Project: Natural Resource Institute, University of Manitoba
2006 – Present
The NRI is a multi-disciplinary graduate body and home to the Canada Research Chair in Community-Based Resource Management.
Tasks: Adjunct faculty member since 2006, assisting with graduate student research (both MNRM and PhD) as a committee member.
Project: Peer Reviewer for Professional Journals
2003 – Present
Journals include Society and Natural Resources, Ecological and Environmental Anthropology, Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power.
Tasks: Provide occasional subject-area assessments to journal editors about the suitability of articles for publication and how authors can improve their articles to meet journal-specific needs and interests.
Pikangikum Cultural Landscape Documentation Guide, Iain Davidson-Hunt and R. Michael O’Flaherty, with contributions from Janene Shearer, Catie Burlando, Andrew Chapeskie, Nathan Deutsch, Oliver Hill, Andrew Miller, Paddy Peters, Michael R. Sanders, Whitefeather Forest Elders Steering Group. 2010. Winnipeg, Manitoba: Aboriginal Issues Press, University of Manitoba.
“Anishinaabe Stewardship and Forest Management on the Whitefeather Forest, Pikangikum First Nation, Ontario: An Ethno-Ecological Perspective,” R. Michael O’Flaherty, Iain J. Davidson-Hunt & Andrew M. Miller. 2009. In Changing the Culture of Forestry in Canada: Engaging Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples in Sustainable Forest Management, edited by Marc G. Stevenson and David Natcher, Edmonton: Sustainable Forest Management Network.
“Indigenous knowledge and values in planning for sustainable forestry: Pikangikum First Nation and the Whitefeather Forest Initiative,” R. Michael O’Flaherty, Iain Davidson-Hunt & Micheline Manseau, 2008. Part of a special feature: Crossing Scales and Disciplines to Achieve Forest Sustainability, Ecology and Society, 13(1):6. [online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol13/iss1/art6/.
“Pikangikum First Nation and forest fire management: old and new knowledge of fire.” Miller, A.M., Davidson-Hunt, I.J., and O’Flaherty, R.M. 2008. Sustainable Forest Management Network Research Note Series No. 37. [online] URL: http://www.sfmn.ales.ualberta.ca/en/Publications/ResearchNotes.aspx.
“Keeping Woodland Caribou (Ahtik) in the Whitefeather Forest,” R. Michael O’Flaherty, Iain Davidson-Hunt & Micheline Manseau, 2007. Sustainable Forest Management Network Research Note Series No. 27. [online] URL: http://www.sfmn.ales.ualberta.ca/en/Publications/ResearchNotes.aspx.
“Researchers, Indigenous Peoples and Place-based Learning Communities,” Iain Davidson-Hunt & R. Michael O’Flaherty, 2007. Society and Natural Resources, 20:4, 291–305. [online] URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08941920601161312.
“The Whitefeather Forest Initiative: Indigenous Wisdom Guiding a New Community Forestry Opportunity in the Boreal Forest of Canada,” Andrew Chapeskie, Michael O’Flaherty, Alex Peters & Norman Quill, 2005. In H. YoungBear-Tibbetts, W. Van Lopik and K. Hall (Eds.) Sharing Indigenous Wisdom: An International Dialogue on Sustainable Development, pp. 7–37. Menominee, Wisconsin: College of Menominee Nation Press.
“The Tragedy of Property: Ecology and Land Tenure in Southeastern Zimbabwe,” Human Organization, Journal of the Society for Applied Anthropology, 62(2) Summer 2003: 178–190.
“Living On the Edge: Ecological and Cultural Edges as Sources of Diversity for Social-Ecological Resilience”, 2003. Nancy J. Turner, Iain J. Davidson-Hunt, R. Michael O’Flaherty. Human Ecology, 31(3), September 2003: 439–461.
“Ecological Agriculture: Situating the Garden in Anthropology,” Culture and Agriculture, Journal of the Culture and Agriculture Section of the American Anthropological Association, 2000, 22(2):16–26.
“Communal Tenure in Zimbabwe: Three Models of Collective Land Holding in the Communal Areas,” Africa, Journal of the International African Institute, 1998, 68(4): 537–557.
Writing Being Prepared for Publication
The Pikangikum Cultural Landscape of the Boreal Forest: Gifts from the Creator for the Survival of Pikangikum People. Co-edited by Iain Davidson-Hunt, Michael O’Flaherty, Andrew Miller and Catie Burlando. An interdisciplinary collection bringing together ten years of research to understand adaptation and continuity in the land-based practices of Pikangikum people.
“The Struggle to Find a Balance: Pikangikum First Nation and the Whitefeather Forest Initiative”, one of a selection of papers from the Science for a Changing North Conference, Indigenous Knowledge and Science session, October 29, 2009, being collected for publication by Native Studies, University of Sudbury.
“The Caribou has Knowledge: The Pikangikum Moral Universe and Woodland Caribou Conservation in the Whitefeather Forest,” being prepared for submission to Human Ecology.
“Non-Timber Forest Products and Community-based Economic Development: Understanding the Opportunities in Canada,” to be submitted to Human Organization.
Recent Conference Papers & Presentations
“The Struggle to Find a Balance: Pikangikum First Nation and the Whitefeather Forest Initiative”. Invited presentation at the 2009 Sudbury Restoration Workshop, “Science for a Changing North”, October 27-29, 2009, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario as part of the session “Indigenous Knowledge and Science” hosted by the Department of Native Studies, University of Sudbury.
“Species at Risk Research in Support of First Nation Led Resource Management on the Whitefeather Forest”. Presentation (as an invited mentor) at Species at Risk Stewardship Funding Proposal Writing workshop hosted by the Chiefs of Ontario and Métis Nation of Ontario, Rama First Nation, Orillia, October 30, 2008.
“Anishinaabe Forest Management Values for the Whitefeather Forest, Pikangikum First Nation, Ontario: An Ethnoecological Perspective”. Paper presented with Iain Davidson-Hunt and Andrew Miller at a Sustainable Forest Management Network Conference (Effective Institutions, Policies and Approaches for Aboriginal Engagement in Sustainable Forest Management: Changing the Culture of Forestry in Canada), Edmonton, Alberta, October 21-22, 2008.
“Keeping the Land so Caribou are Free to Choose – First Nation Led Resource Management on the Whitefeather Forest”. Presentation made on behalf of the Whitefeather Forest Management Corporation, Pikangikum First Nation, at the Sustainable Forest Management Network Caribou Workshop, Thunder Bay, Ontario, March 18-19, 2008.
“Pikangikum First Nation and the Whitefeather Forest Initiative: Negotiating a Sustainable Future in Northwestern Ontario”. Paper presented at the annual joint meetings of the Canadian Anthropology Society and the American Ethnology Society, Toronto, May 8-12, 2007.
“Species at Risk Research in Support of First Nation Led Resource Management on the Whitefeather Forest”. Presentation made on behalf of the Whitefeather Forest Management Corporation, Pikangikum First Nation, at the Cross Cultural Awareness of Protection in Ontario: Species at Risk and Protected Areas Workshop”, hosted by Chiefs of Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Parks Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and Environment Canada, January 21-24, 2007, Geneva Park, Orillia.
“The Whitefeather Forest Initiative: New approaches for land-use planning and research”. Panel presentation led by Paddy Peters and including Norman Quill, Lee Gerrish, Michael O’Flaherty, Micheline Manseau and Iain Davidson-Hunt, Sustainable Forest Management Network Conference, Edmonton, Alberta, June 20-22, 2006.
“Keeping Woodland Caribou on the Land: Understanding How to Co-Exist with Caribou in the Whitefeather Forest, Northwestern Ontario” (poster presentation) with Micheline Manseau, Iain Davidson-Hunt and Paddy Peters, Sustainable Forest Management Network Conference, Edmonton, Alberta, June 20-22, 2006.
“Maintaining Viable Populations of Species at Risk in the Boreal Forest: Integrating Different Values and Knowledge” with Micheline Manseau & Iain Davidson-Hunt (presented by Micheline Manseau), annual symposium of the United States Regional Chapter of the International Association for Landscape Ecology (US-IALE), San Diego, California, March 28 to April 1, 2006.
“Indigenous Knowledge and Values in Land Use Planning: Pikangikum First Nation and the Whitefeather Forest Initiative” with M. Manseau, I. Davidson-Hunt and P. Peters (presented by Micheline Manseau). 11th North American Caribou Workshop, Jasper, Alberta, April 23 to 27th, 2006.
“Keeping Woodland Caribou in the Whitefeather Forest.” Presented at the annual meetings of the Environmental Studies Association of Canada (ESAC), University of Manitoba, June 3-5, 2004.
“Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) in pursuit of Community-Based Livelihoods.” Presented at the Union of Ontario Indians (UOI) First Annual Forestry Conference, Sault Ste. Marie, May 5-6, 2004.
“Social Values of Non-Timber Forest Products and the Whitefeather Forest Initiative”. Presented at Central Canada Boreal Forest Expo & Summit, Timmins, Ontario, May 7-9, 2003.
“Every Forest is a Social Forest, but are they all Good Ones? Social Priorities for Non-Timber Forest Products Research and Action.” Roundtable Presentation for Society of American Foresters Annual Meetings, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, October 5-9, 2002.
“Good Fences Make Good Neighbours: The Culture of Exclusion in an Era of Globalization,” presented at the meetings of the Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA), McGill University, May 3-6, 2001.
“Neither Wild nor White: Negotiating Meanings over Ontario’s Crown Forests,” presented at the meetings of the Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA), Laval University, Québec City, May 12-16, 1999.
Pikangikum First Nation, Jan 2006 – Mar 2006: Coordinator and instructor, along with two Pikangikum elders, for community-based delivery of courses on: “Trees and Herbaceous Plants” & “Introduction to Indigenous Cultural Tourism” (included basic GIS training).
University of Toronto (Anthropology), 2001–2003: Sessional instructor for courses on: introductory social & cultural anthropology, African cultures and societies, and ecological anthropology.
Ontario College of Art and Design (Liberal Studies), 2002–2003: Sessional instructor for courses on: introductory social & cultural anthropology.
Wilfred Laurier University (Sociology & Anthropology), 2001–2002: Sessional instructor for courses on: introductory social & cultural anthropology.
Mount Allison University (Sociology & Anthropology), 1999–2001: Assistant professor, conducted courses on: introduction to anthropology, anthropological theory, social inequality, African cultures and societies, ecological anthropology, family and kinship, and anthropology of the life cycle.
University of Toronto (Department of Anthropology), 1997–1999: Sessional instructor for courses on: introductory social & cultural anthropology, southern African cultures and societies, ecological anthropology and state societies.
Sheridan College, Oakville, Ontario (General Arts & Science), 1996–1998: Sessional instructor for courses on: introductory social & cultural anthropology.
2009. “Developing a Community Monitoring Programme for Lake Sturgeon in the Berens River (Red-Assiniboine Rivers-Lake Winnipeg population)”. Funding: Environment Canada / Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Value: $38,540 cash + $8,940 in-kind.
2008. “Identification and verification of woodland caribou habitat in the Whitefeather Forest”. Funding: Environment Canada, Value: $25,185 cash + $8,000 in-kind.
2007. “Collaborative Research on Lake Sturgeon in the Berens River (Red-Assiniboine Rivers-Lake Winnipeg population)”. Funding: Environment Canada / Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Value: $20,602 cash + $7,630 in-kind.
2007. Species at Risk poster project. Funding: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Value: $13,093 cash + $30,700 in-kind.
2006. Identification of Woodland Caribou Travel Routes and Calving Areas in the Whitefeather Forest. Funding: Environment Canada and Ministry of Natural Resources. Value: $114,110 cash + $25,067 in-kind.
2005 “Integrating Indigenous and Science-based Knowledge for the Identification of Critical Woodland Caribou Habitat in the Whitefeather Forest”. Funding: Environment Canada. Value: $31,580 cash, $17,280 in-kind.
2005. “Learning journeys of Pikangikum people through our cultural landscape (Beekahncheekahmeeng ahneesheenahbay ohtahkeemeewahn)”. Funding: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Value: $24,600 cash.
2004 “Keeping Woodland Caribou in the Boreal Forest: Cross-Cultural Research Supporting New Forest Management Models”. Funding: Living Legacy Trust, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Ministry of Natural Resources. Value: $266,825 cash, $68,630 in-kind.