Accepted Paper:

Indigenous response to cultural vulnerability and mining in Canada  
Beth Bedard (Durham University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper focuses on a conflict between an Indigenous Secwepemc community in British Columbia and the developers of a gold and copper mining megaproject within their territory. The Secwepemc response is discussed in terms of cultural survival and the management of cultural uncertainty.

Paper long abstract:

There are currently conflicts between Indigenous rights and the rights of developers being enacted in many parts of the world. This paper focuses on one particular conflict between an Indigenous Secwepemc community in British Columbia and the developers of a mining megaproject for gold and copper within their territory. The Secwepemc community perceptions are that this project will lead to the death of their culture. This fear of cultural extinction has fuelled a backlash against this development.

This volatile and potentially violent situation is characterized by an absence of dialogue between the discourses and perspectives of racism and human rights abuses as articulated by the Secwepemc in contrast to the right to develop natural resources for commercial profit.

This paper will discuss the Secwepemc response to these different discourses in terms of cultural survival and how the community is attempting to manage the stress of cultural uncertainty as traditional values and practices are incorporated into new political and cultural realities.

Panel W125
Imagined resources and governance of community