Hydroelectric “development” in Canada has been criticized for the lack of meaningful consideration of community perspectives. This article shares the case of the O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation (OPCN) in northern Manitoba, Canada, and the impact of mainstream water resource management strategies over their culture and livelihood. Through consideration of Kistihtamahwin, OPCN’s concept of water governance, as well as the promises made in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), this article argues that the lack of meaningful consultation and engagement with local resource users as well as the concept of Kistihtamahwin has led to the destruction of a successful fishery, which resulted in severe socioeconomic loss, environmental degradation, and cultural loss in the community. We found that for meaningful application of UNDRIP in Indigenous water governance, local cultural strategies and traditional knowledge are essential.

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