Barry Hunter


Thesis Title: Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Athabasca Denesuline and Land Use Planning in Northern Canada
Supervisor: Dr. Chasca Twyman and Dr. Dan Hammett.
Funding: Employer / Self

Current Research:

Aboriginal (Indigenous) land and resource goals of actively participating in decision-making, in protecting their rights and interests, in safe-guarding their way of life while allowing for, and benefitting from, economic development is near universal. However, these aspirations often conflict with those of Government and natural resource developers. Land and resource planning is seen as a mechanism or tool for the resolution of such conflicts and contributing to building relationships. Moving from Government centred to more inclusive and participatory approaches is an ongoing resource management challenge. Some support collaborative land and resource planning as a means of ensuring Aboriginal peoples have greater authority and responsibilities alongside Government. Others argue that differing, and perhaps incompatible, world views between Aboriginal peoples and Government means that co-existence with parallel or otherwise paired management regimes is more suitable. Under any management scenario, Aboriginal involvement in land and resource planning is impacted by claims for political autonomy; differing concepts, interests, and systems of land and natural resources management; significant power asymmetries; and diverse state responses. My PhD research is exploring how the rights, interests and objectives of the Athabasca Denesuline, an indigenous group in Northern Canada are impacted by issues of participation, power, governance, and devolution within land and resource planning initiatives.

Research Interests:

  • Social, cultural and environmental planning, regulation and impact assessment
  • Governance
  • Indigenous rights, participation, and knowledge exchange
Education and Experience


  • MSc (Geography – Development Studies) University of Durham, UK. (1999) Thesis: Participatory Planning and Extension: An agroforestry case study from Plateau State, Nigeria
  • BScF (Forest Management). University of New Brunswick, Canada (1987)

Regulatory, Professional, and Technical


  • Royal Geographical Society – Postgraduate Fellow
  • College of Alberta Registered Professional Foresters
  • Association of British Columbia Forest Professionals
  • Canadian Institute of Forestry

Professional Experience:

I have over 25 years of professional experience working at the interface of the natural and social sciences. I seek to understand and address environmental, economic, social, and indigenous injustices that impede the development of empowered individuals, strong communities and sustainable livelihoods. I provide technical expertise, leadership, and support within multicultural, and multidisciplinary consultancy teams that undertake applied research; advocacy; engagement; policy analysis and development; as well as training and education initiatives. I work closely with individuals, elected leaders, indigenous peoples, communities, governments, industries and NGOs. I have experience in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America.