Rebecca Rooke (Schwass)


Update 2016

Rebecca completed her Masters thesis in January 2016.  The final thesis report “Investigating relationships: How mining companies and Aboriginal communities can improve impact mitigation for terrestrial wildlife and traditional harvesting practices in the Canadian Arctic” is available through the Lakehead University Knowledge Commons at

Abstract:  The purpose of this study is to examine the relationships between mining companies and Aboriginal communities in the Canadian Arctic through their shared connection to the natural environment. The focal point of this investigation are the mitigation strategies employed by mining companies for reducing adverse effects to terrestrial wildlife, and the associated traditional harvesting practices of local native communities. This study investigates the roles of both parties in direct relation to effective wildlife management, socio-economic benefits and maintaining traditional lifestyles, as well as the potential for greater sustainable development. As such, it is expected that the improved management of environmental impacts can lead to more positive experiences for communities with local mining projects. Moreover, with a positive relationship, it is expected that both parties would derive greater benefits and more successful sustainable development. With a narrow focus on terrestrial wildlife species and traditional harvesting, this study is able to examine a critical component of the relationship between mining companies and communities, and devise management recommendations for future development


  • Mining industry
  • Canadian Arctic
  • Northern Canada
  • Environmental protection
  • Sustainable development
  • Aboriginal participation


Rebecca is in the process of completing her Masters of Environmental Studies at Lakehead University.

ReSDA Research

As the northern mining industry continues to expand, the impacts to local Aboriginal groups and the natural environment are becoming increasingly significant. Of specific interest to this project are the impacts directly related to terrestrial wildlife species and the associated traditional harvesting practices of northern Aboriginal communities. This project investigates the current mitigation strategies used by mining companies to reduce harmful impacts to the natural environment and improve benefits for northern communities. Interviews were conducted with several participants, representative of a number of integral perspectives, regarding the relationship between mining companies and Aboriginal communities. Analysis of the interview data revealed that most specific impact mitigation issues can be effectively managed with proper planning, enforcement, and monitoring. Of greatest concern is the nature of the relationship developed between mining companies and local Aboriginal communities. The research suggests that healthy relationships are the result of constant and clear communication, consistent engagement, and a balance between scientific studies and the use of Traditional Knowledge. With strong bonds between mining companies and Aboriginal communities, the research suggests that more effective environmental management, impact mitigation, enhanced benefits, and greater sustainability can ensue.

Read more about the project on the project page: Resource Development and Subsistence Harvesting: Impact Mitigation and Best Practices.

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