Poh-Ling Tan

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Event Date



Poh-Ling Tan, Griffith University

13 slides


Tony McLeod


Indigenous peoples throughout the world face diverse and often formidable challenges of what might be termed “water justice.” On one hand, these challenges involve issues of distributional justice that concern Indigenous communities’ relative abilities to access and use water for self-determined purposes. On the other hand, issues of procedural justice are frequently associated with water allocation and management, encompassing fundamental matters like representation within governance entities and participation in decision-making processes. Yet another realm of water justice in which disputes are commonplace relates to the persistence of, and respect afforded to, Indigenous communities’ cultural traditions and values surrounding water—more specifically, the degree of recognition and solicitude given them in distributional rules, governance entities, decision-making processes, etc. These three dimensions of water justice find support in numerous domestic and international sources, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Hosted by the University of Colorado Law School on Monday, June 6 in Boulder, Colorado, the Indigenous Water Justice (IWJ) Symposium has been convened to address water justice-related challenges facing Australian Aboriginal communities within the Murray-Darling Basin, Canadian First Nations within the Columbia River Basin, and Native American Tribes within the Colorado and Columbia River Basins. The symposium will consist of three basin panels followed by an end-of-day synthesis panel. It will be bookended by a keynote address from Professor Charles Wilkinson during the morning, and a dinner reception hosted by the Native American Rights Fund. The symposium is an invitation-only event envisioned as an incubator for future actions and collaborations. The roughly 45 participants hail from nearly 20 Indigenous communities and organizations and faculties of approximately 15 academic institutions in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United States, as well as governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations. Our core purpose is to foster dialogue and relationships aimed at promoting legal and policy reforms to achieve positive social change.

Murray-Darling Basin Session.

Alternate Title

Crystallized Not Frozen: Addressing Historical Exclusion of Traditional Owners from Water