Boreal Bias: A Critique of CRM Testing Methodologies in Alberta’s Boreal Forest

  • Author / Creator
    Huber, Maegan Lee
  • This project, conducted in partnership with Ermineskin Cree Nation through the Ermineskin Industrial Relations Department (EIRD), was undertaken to address biases present in Alberta Culture Resource Management (CRM) archaeology that skew the data and perpetuate the conception that boreal archaeological sites are generally small and ephemeral. A comprehensive analysis of archaeological sites in the study area identified site clusters – where two or more archaeological sites have been identified within 100m of each other – to determine whether these previously identified sites are isolated with clearly defined boundaries, or if they could be connected as part of a larger site area. To this end, subsurface testing was conducted on the untested terrain between the previously identified site boundaries (FgPw-37, FgPw-41, and FgPw-43) within site cluster FID1127. The site cluster is located on a large parabolic sand dune near the contemporary Tidewater Gas Plant in the foothills of west-central Alberta. The testing was designed to ascertain whether current CRM methodologies adequately identify cultural material and accurately reflect the special extent of known sites. Identification of cultural material between these known sites supports the theory that current CRM practices in the Alberta boreal forest are missing key archaeological material, and as a result, breaking up larger habitation areas into what appear to be small ephemeral sites. This is not an accurate reflection of past lifeways in this region. Because industrial expansion in the boreal forest shows no evidence of slowing down and archaeological material is not a renewable resource, CRM methodologies and regulations must be continually tested and updated. Failure to do so compromises archaeological resources and contributes to the erasure of Indigenous history in Alberta.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2024
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.