Concordia University

Monica E. Mulrennan, PhD

Associate Professor , Geography, Planning and Environment

Office: S-GM 900-09 
Guy-De Maisonneuve Building,
1550 De Maisonneuve W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 4467

Dr Monica Mulrennan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment. She obtained a BA (Hons,1984) in Geography and English and a PhD in Geography (1990) from University College Dublin, Ireland. Prior to joining Concordia University in 1994, she held an NSERC International Post-doctoral Fellowship at McGill University (1993-94) and post-doctoral fellowships with the Australian National University (1991-93) and the University of Wollongong (1990-91), Australia. Her research is focused on Indigenous people and the knowledge, practices, and connections they hold to coastal and marine portions of their traditional territories. Her work addresses how Indigenous-led strategies of environmental protection and stewardship can be recognised and supported to achieve biodiversity conservation and enhance Indigenous control and autonomy over their traditional territories and lifeways. She has written numerous research papers and book chapters and is co-editor of the forthcoming book “Caring for Eeyou Istchee: Protected Area Creation in Eeyou Istchee” (UBC Press, Vancouver,November 2019). Dr Mulrennan is a founding member of the McGill-based Centre for Indigenous Conservation and Development Alternatives (CICADA), an honorary member of the ICCA Consortium (Indigenous and local community conserved areas and territories), and a director of Community-based Research Canada (CBRC). She has served as Associate Dean, Graduate Student Affairs, in the School of Graduate Studies (2004-08) and Chair of the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment (2014-17). She received Concordia University’s Academic Leadership Award in 2017.

Research Interests

  • Indigenous stewardship
  • Traditional Ecological Knowledge
  • Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs)
  • Subsistence and small-scale fisheries  
  • Indigenous women and their connections to the sea
  • Seaweed harvesting traditions among coastal communities


Courses Taught

ENVS 668             Indigenous Peoples and Environmental Assessment

GEOG 620C           Community Participation in Environmental Conservation

GEOG 470/670       Environmental Management

GEOG 407/607       Indigenous Peoples and the Environment

GEOG 290             Environment and Society

GEOG 203             Canadian Environmental Issues (online course)

Research Activities

Current Research Projects

  • The creation of Indigenous-led Protected and Conserved Areas in Eeyou Istchee, northern Quebec
  • Indigenous rights and interests at the land-sea interface.
  • Torres Strait Islander women and their use, knowledge and attachments to sea space.
  • Cultural history of seaweed harvesting among West Coast of Ireland coastal communities

Graduate Student Opportunities

Dr Mulrennan oversees a dynamic research group focused on themes and topics related to Indigenous Conservation and Stewardship. Students with a background and research interests in this field are invited to apply to work with her through Concordia University's PhD and MSc. Programs in Geography, Urban and Environmental Studies.

For more details of her research group see:

Current and Past Graduate Students

1.  Leila Vaziri (PhD, in progress) Global Trends in the Creation of Indigenous Territories of Life.
2.  Nafisa Sarwath (PhD, in progress) Adaptive Responses of Contemporary Land-Based Activities of Wemindji Cree of Eeyou Istchee.
3.  Kristy Franks (PhD, in progress) Water Wonders: Empowering Connections between Indigenous Youth, Water, Culture, Tradition and Technology.
4.  Heather Elliott (MSc, in progress) Unsettling the Table: Decolonization within and through the Food Movement.
5.  Véronique Bussières (PhD, in progress)Stewards of our land: a critical analysis of indigenous stewardship in contemporary environmental governance institutions in Canada.
6.  Salman Banisadr (MSc, in progress) Graduate Thesis Research as a Lens on the Discipline of Geography’s Engagement of Indigenous Communities in Canada.
7.  Jessica Hewitt (MSc, in progress) Remapping land with Kwantlen First Nation: strategies for enhancing their control and participation in Regional Park planning and management in British Columbia.
8.  Chloe Boone (MSc, in progress) Relationships, Language, and the Land: Cree language revitalisation in Wemindji Cree First Nation.
9.  Annie Lalancette (PhD, completed 2017) Integrating Indigenous Perspectives into Fisheries Management: Challenges and Opportunities in Torres Strait, Australia.
10.  Tariq Hossein (MSc, completed 2016) Tourism as a Livelihood Alternative for James Bay Cree Coastal Communities.
11.  Erich Seydewitz (MSc, completed2016) An Assessment of Multi-Stakeholder Participation in the Trans Canada Trail: Lessons to inform Sendero de Chile.
12.  Cassandra Lamontagne (MSc, completed 2016) “This change isn’t good”: Gitga’ata Traditional Ecological Knowledge of environmental change (co-supervised with D. Matthews).
13.  Kanwaljeet Dewan (MSc, completed 2016) Towards an improved understanding of community-level fisheries monitoring: A case study of the Wemindji Community Fisheries Program.
14.  Genevieve Layton-Cartier (MSc, completed 2014) Environmental Governance of Marine Protected Area Initiatives in Quebec.
15.  Magdalena Garcia (MSc, completed 2012) A Comparative Exploration of Indigenous Protected Area (PA) Governance Arrangements in Chile and Canada.
16.  Andra Syvänen (MSc, completed 2011) Wemindji Cree Observation and Interpretations of Climate Change: Documenting Adaptability in the Sub-Arctic.
17.  Marivic Pajaro (PhD, completed 2009) Socio-economic Indicators of Marine Protected Area (MPA) Success in the Central Philippines (co-supervised with A. Vincent).
18.  Jesse S. Sayles (MSc, completed2008) Tapaiitam: Human modifications of the coast as adaptations to environmental change, Wemindji, eastern James Bay.
19.  Miriam Atkinson (MPPPA, completed 2007) Caring for the Land: Nemaska Cree strategies of resistance to the EM-1-Aand Rupert Diversion Project in eastern James Bay, northern Quebec.
20.  Véronique Bussières (MPPPA, completed 2005) Developing a Culturally Appropriate Protected Area at Old Factory, Wemindji, James Bay.
21.  Lauren Penney (MPPPA, completed 2005) Direct Action as a Strategy for Indigenous Empowerment in Natural Resource Management.
22.  Nick Sanders (MPPPA, completed 2005) Developing a Protected Areas Model for the Northern Appalachians.
23.  Ioana Radu (MPPPA, completed 2004) Internet Technology, Place and Identity among Nemaska Cree Youth, James Bay.
24. Eleni Panagiotaraku (MPPPA, completed 2003) Native Women, the Built Environment and Community Well-being: James Bay Crees.

Research Publications

Manuscripts Submitted

·        Mulrennan,M.E. Accepted. Do landscapes Listen?Wemindji Eeyou knowledge, adaptation and agency in the context of coastallandscape change. In O. Slaymaker, N. Catto and D. Kovaven (eds) Landscapesand Landforms of Canada East, Special edition, Springer.

·        Garcia, M. and M.E. Mulrennan.Accepted. Tracking the history of protected areas in Chile:Shifting StateRationalities and their implications for indigenous inhabitants. Latin AmericanGeography.


·        Mulrennan, M.E. and V. Bussières. In Press. IndigenousEnvironmental Stewardship: Do mechanisms of biodiversity protection align withor undermine it? In Turner,N.J. (ed) Plants,People and Places: the Roles of Ethnobotany and Ethnoecology in IndigenousPeoples’ Land Rights in Canada and Beyond. Chapter 17. Montreal:McGill-Queens Press.

·        Mulrennan, M.E., C. Scott and K. Scott, eds. In Press. Caring for EeyouIstchee:Protected Area Creation in Wemindji Cree Territory Vancouver: UBC Press(book launch, AAA/CASCA Meetings, November 2019).

·        Bussières, V., M.E. Mulrennan and D. Stewart. In Press. Aa-wiichaautuwiihkw:Cultural Connections and Continuities along the Wemindji Coast. In M.E. Mulrennan, C. Scott and K. Scott, eds. Caring for Eeyou Istchee: Protected Area Creation in WemindjiCree Territory. Vancouver:UBC Press.

·        Mark, R., M.E. Mulrennan, K. Scott and C. Scott. In Press. Introducing Perspectives and Approaches in Community-basedProtected Area Creation at Wemindji. In M.E. Mulrennan,C. Scott and K. Scott, eds. Caring for Eeyou Istchee: Protected Area Creation in WemindjiCree Territory. Vancouver: UBC Press.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. and F. Berkes. In Press. Protected area development in northernindigenous contexts. In M.E. Mulrennan, C. Scott and K.Scott, eds. Caring for Eeyou Ischee: Protected Area Creation inWemindji Cree Territory. Vancouver: UBC Press.

·        Sayles, J. and M.E.Mulrennan. In Press. Coastal landscape modifications by Creehunters. In M.E. Mulrennan, C. Scott and K. Scott,eds. Caring for Eeyou Ischee: Protected Area Creation in WemindjiCree TerritoryVancouver: UBC Press.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. and V. Bussières. (2018). Social-Ecological Resilience in Indigenous Coastal EdgeContexts. Ecology and Society23(3):18.

·        Brammer, J., Brunet, N., Burton, C., Cuerrier, A.,Danielsen, F., Dewan, K.,Herrmann,T., Jackson, M., Kennett, R., Larocque, G., Mulrennan, M., Pratihast,A., Ste-Arnaud, M., Scott, C. and Humphries, M. (2016). The role of digitaldataentry in participatory environmental monitoring. ConservationBiology. 10.1111/cobi.12727

·        Mulrennan, M.E. (2015) Aboriginal Peoples in relation toresource and environmental management. In Mitchell, B. (ed) Resourceand Environmental Management in Canada: Addressing Conflict and Uncertainty.Toronto: Oxford University Press, 5th edition, 56-79.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. (2014) On the edge: a consideration of the adaptivecapacity of Indigenous Peoples in coastal zones from the Arctic to the Tropics.In: Martini, I. P.& Wanless, H. R.(eds) Sedimentary Coastal Zones from Highto Low Latitudes: Similarities and Differences. Geological Society, London,Special Publications, 388,

·        Mulrennan, M.E. (2013) Indigenous Knowledge in Marine and Coastal Policy andManagement. Special Issue on Rio 20, Ocean Yearbook, 27: 89-119.

·        Castleden,H., Mulrennan,M.E. and A. Godlewska (2012) Community-Based Participatory Researchinvolving Indigenous Peoples in Canadian Geography: Progress? An EditorialIntroduction. The Canadian Geographer 56(2): 155-59.

·        Mulrennan, M.E., Mark, R. and C.H. Scott (2012) Revamping Community-BasedConservation through Participatory Research. The Canadian Geographer 56(2): 243-59.

·        Sayles,J. and Mulrennan,M.E. (2010) Securing a Future: Cree Hunters’ Resistance andFlexibility to Environmental Changes, Wemindji, James Bay.Ecology and Society15(4): 22. [online]

·        Scott C.H. and MulrennanM.E. (2010) Reconfiguring Mare Nullius: Torres Strait Islanders,Indigenous Sea Rights and the Divergence of Domestic and International Norms.In M. Blaser, R. de Costa, D. McGregor and W.D.Coleman (eds) Indigenous Peoplesand Autonomy: Insights for a Global Age.Vancouver: UBC Press. Chapter 7,148-176.

·        Pajaro, M.G., M.E.Mulrennan, J. Alder and A.C.J. Vincent (2010) Developing MPA EffectivenessIndicators: Comparison Within and Across Stakeholder Groups and Communities.Coastal Management 38(2): 122-143.

·        Pajaro,M.G., M.E.Mulrennan and A.C.J. Vincent (2010) Toward an Integrated MarineProtected Areas Policy: Connecting the Global to the Local.Environment,Development and Sustainability DOI 10.1007/s10668-010-9233-0

·        Atkinson,M. and Mulrennan,M.E. (2009) Local Protest and Resistance to the Rupert DiversionProject, Northern Quebec. Arctic 62(4): 468-480.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. (2008) Reaffirming ‘Community’in the Context ofCommunity-based Conservation. In D. Brydon and W.D. Coleman (eds) RenegotiatingCommunity: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Global Contexts. Vancouver: UBCPress. Chapter 4, 66-82.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. (2007) Sustaining a Small-boat Fishery: RecentDevelopments and Future Prospects for Torres Strait Islanders, NorthernAustralia. In N. Haggan, B. Neis and I.G. Baird (eds) Fishers’ Knowledge: TheChanging Face of Fisheries Science and Management. Chapter 9.Paris: UNESCO,Chapter 9, 183-198.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. and Scott C.H. (2005) Co-Management - An AttainablePartnership? Two Cases from James Bay and Torres Strait. Anthropologica 47(2): 197-213.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. and Scott C.H. (2001) Aboriginal Rights and Interests inCanada’s Northern Seas. In C.H. Scott (ed), Aboriginal Autonomy and Developmentin Northern Quebec and Labrador. Vancouver: UBC Press, 78-97.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. and Scott C.H. (2001) Indigenous Rights and Control of the SeainTorres Strait. Indigenous Law Bulletin,5 (5), 11-15.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. and Scott C.H. (2000) Mare Nullius: Indigenous RightsinSaltwater Environments. Development and Change, 31(3), 681-708.

·        Scott C.H. and MulrennanM.E. (1999) Land and Sea Tenure at Erub, Torres Strait: Property,Sovereignty and the Adjudication of Cultural Continuity. Oceania,70,146-176.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. (1998) A Casebook of Environmental Issues inCanada.New York: Wiley & Sons Inc. 136pp.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. and Woodroffe C.D. (1998) Saltwater Intrusion of the LowerMary River Plains, Northern Territory, Australia. Journal ofEnvironmental Management, 54, 169-188.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. and Woodroffe C.D. (1998) Holocene Development of theLower Mary River Plains, Northern Territory,Australia. Holocene,8(5), 565-579.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. and Hanssen N. (1994) MarineStrategy for Torres Strait: Policy Directions. Darwin: Torres Strait IslandCoordinating Council and North Australia Research Unit, Australian NationalUniversity. 99pp.

·        Jull P., Mulrennan,M.E., Sullivan M.E., Crough G. and Lea D. (1994) SurvivingColumbus: Indigenous peoples, Political Reform and Environmental Management inNorth Australia. Darwin: Northern Land Council, Central Land Council,Island Coordinating Council and North Australia Research Unit, AustralianNational University. 166pp.

·        Mulrennan M.E. (1994) The Evolution and Control of Resource Management inthe Torres Strait, Australia. Actes du Colloque: Les Peuples Indigènes et La Mise enValeur des Ressources en Eau.Groupe Consensus, UQCN and Societe Makivik, Québec. 88-101.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. and Pollard W.H. (1994) Indigenous People and Coastal ZoneManagement: the experience of Canada’s James Bay Cree and Australia’s TorresStrait Islanders. In P.G. Wells and P.J. Ricketts (eds) Coastal ZoneCanada 94:Cooperation in the Coastal Zone, Bedford Institute of Oceanography,Coastal Zone Canada Association, Dartmouth, Volume 2, 551-568.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. and McGrath V., (1994) A Marine Strategy for TorresStrait. In P. Jull, M.E. Mulrennan, M.E. Sullivan,G. Crough and D. Lea (eds.) SurvivingColumbus: Indigenous peoples, Political Reform and Environmental Management inNorth Australia. Conference Proceedings Northern Land Council, CentralLand Council, Island Coordinating Council and North Australia Research Unit,Darwin, 73-9.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. and Sullivan M.E. (1993) Torres Strait: Recent Initiativesin Environmental Management. In Turning the Tide: Conference onIndigenous Peoples and Sea Rights, NTU Law Faculty, Darwin, 253-262.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. (1993) Towards a Marine Strategy for Torres Strait(MaSTS). Darwin: Torres Strait Island Coordinating Council andNorthAustralia Research Unit, Australian National University. 52pp.

·        Woodroffe C.D. and Mulrennan,M.E. (1993) The Geomorphology of the Lower Mary River Plains,Northern Territory. Darwin:Conservation Commission of the NorthernTerritory and North Australia Research Unit, Australian National University.152pp.

·        Woodroffe C.D., Mulrennan,M.E. and Chappell C. (1993) Estuarine Infill and Coastal Progradation,Southern van Dieman Gulf, Northern Territory, Australia. Journal ofSedimentary Geology, 83,257-275.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. (1993) Changes since the Nineteenth Century to the Estuary‑BarrierComplexes of North County Dublin.Irish Geography, 26(1), 1-13.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. (1992) The Morphodynamics of a Ridge and Runnel BeachSystem: an example from the Central East Coast of Ireland. Journal ofCoastal Research, 8(4):906-918.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. (1992) Coastal Management: Challenges and Changesin the Torres Strait.Discussion Paper No.5. Darwin: NARU, ANU, 40pp.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. (1992) A National Coastal Zone ManagementStrategy for Australia. In I. Moffatt and A. Webb (eds), Conservationand Development in North Australia. Darwin: NARU Monograph, ANU, 28-36.

·        Woodroffe C.D. and Mulrennan,M.E. (1991) The Past, Present and Future of TidalInfluence in Northern Territory Coastal Wetlands. In I. Moffatt and A. Webb(eds), North Australian Research: Some Past Themes and New Directions. Darwin:NARU Monograph, ANU, 83-104.

·        Mulrennan, M.E. (1989) Management of Irish Coastal Environments. In J.C.Sweeney (ed) The Irish Sea: A Resource at Risk. Dublin:Geographical Society of Ireland, Special Publication No. 3, 99-106.

·        Carter, R.W.G. and Mulrennan,M.E. (1985) Coastal Environments of County Dublin. Dublin:Geographical Society of Ireland Field Guide No. 1, 68pp.

Participation activities

Attention Media: Will speak on environmental issues related to indigenous peoples

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