An examination of the Development Assessment Process, Yukon
The Development Assessment Process (DAP) is a new Yukon-wide impact assessment process that is in the early formation stages. The Comprehensive Land Claim Umbrella Final Agreement (UFA) (1993) demands the participation of Yukon First Nations in environmental assessment and indirectly requires the use of their knowledge. A challenge lies in determining specific mechanisms and procedures that will address many questions regarding the application of DAP. This study aims to identify and discuss procedural and information requirements of the Development Assessment Process according to members of (1) Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, (2) Yukon Territorial Government, and (3) First Nation organizations. Based on primary data, recommendations are proposed in order to facilitate the operationalization of DAP. Open-ended, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 21 key informants during fieldwork in Whitehorse, from June 2 to August 10, 1996. Participants' perspectives are examined and presented in terms of similarities and differences according to four constructs (culture, power, participation, knowledge). The incorporation of traditional knowledge and the paucity of guidelines regarding its use is a prominent issue. Overall, DAP represents an innovative approach to managing northern resources and protecting First Nation lifestyles through the promotion of an equal partnership between the federal and territorial governments, and the Yukon First Nations.