Hunting buffalo under the ground: encounters in heritage management

Poirier, Claire Charlotte (2018) Hunting buffalo under the ground: encounters in heritage management. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This dissertation problematizes the notion that ‘heritage’ is a singular, agreed-upon concept within the context of central Alberta, Canada. Given this region’s particular history, geography, and policy-legal framework, the concept of heritage is embedded within networks of relations that take shape through archaeological, ceremonial, and bureaucratic practices, to name a few. By focusing on Plains Cree ceremonialism and the Government of Alberta’s strategies for heritage management, this research asks how or in what ways the state’s approach to the management of heritage infringes upon Plains Cree ancestral relations that are maintained through ceremony. For those leading a Plains Cree ceremonial way of life, heritage refers to living relations with land-based entities, which require constant care and nurturance. For the state, heritage applies to tangible sites and materials associated with the land’s past inhabitants, which are dispensable in the name of economic progress. As the state implements procedures for the management of heritage, the relations that form Plains Cree ancestral networks come up against the modernist intellectual lineage that informs the state’s notions of what heritage is. Even as the state recognizes that local Indigenous people continue to retain a connection to sites and materials defined as heritage, the management of those sites and materials remains under state control. As a result, the state’s tendency to commoditize land and resources often becomes prioritized over the ancestral relations maintained through Plains Cree ceremonialism. This dissertation aims to parse out the master narratives embedded in the state’s use of the concept of heritage from how it is used in reference to localized Plains Cree networks in which the landscape itself is an ancestor. Attending to the discord between divergent conceptions of what heritage is and what it does exposes the consequences that come as a result of assuming the concept has only one meaning and opens the way for the lively and active cultivation of Plains Cree ancestral landscapes.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 13577
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 220-239).
Keywords: Heritage, Heritage Legislation, Indigenous Peoples, Ontologies, Historical Resources, Alberta
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Archaeology
Date: September 2018
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Cree Indians--Alberta—Folklore; Cree Indians--Alberta—Material culture; Cree Indians--Alberta—Social life and customs; Alberta--Cultural policy

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