(University of SK)
Paper Short Abstract:
This poster examines the environmental and cultural effects that the oil and gas industry has on traditional land users in Northern Alberta. It navigates major themes such as tradition, industry, and community.
Paper long abstract:
Increasingly, First Nations across Canada are responding to- and interacting with- industry and the energy sector. This blend of industrial resource extraction with traditional land use creates interesting commentary on how Indigenous culture is being shaped, particularly in regards to the new ways they use their land. My poster summarizes my MA thesis research based on ethnographic fieldwork with Peerless Trout First Nation in Northern Alberta during the summer of 2016. Preliminary findings indicate a general interest in work related to the energy sector, despite the negative perceptions about the effects resource extraction has on the environment. I argue that Aboriginal Peoples' changing relationships with industry has significant cultural impacts. My thesis asks: how is the oil and gas industry affecting traditional Indigenous land users? Interviews with community members comprised of Aboriginal elders, local government officials, office workers, educators, and non-Aboriginal community members contributed to my findings- each person had an insightful- and often unexpected attitude towards resource development. By examining the cultural impacts that the energy sector has on both the environment and Aboriginal Peoples' culture, we can better assess current policies concerning consultation and determine whether practices are truly benefitting Aboriginal Peoples in meaningful ways.