Dr. Arn Keeling, Geography Department, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland
Dr. John Sandlos, Department of History, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John's Newfoundland
Jean-Sebastien Boutet, Masters Student, Geography Department, Memorial University of Newfoundland
For further information about this project, contact Arn Keeling (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Through the investigation of case studies in western Labrador and northern Quebec, we plan to examine the impact of mining development on northern communities and their local environments and economies. Through archival and community-based research, this project intends to illuminate how major mine developments affect existing social economy organizations and practices. We are also interested in how the community instability associated with mine closures impacts these organizations, as well as the broader social economy. In particular, our project will address the impact of social and economic changes associated with large-scale capitalist enterprises on indigenous and Northern communities. Primary research will be undertaken by a master's student, contributing to training and the development of research capacity. We plan to work closely with several organizations that have expressed support for this project, including local First Nations, community groups and mining companies active in the region.
This research will provide a distinctive regional and thematic counterpart to a SSHRCC-funded project (led by the investigators) examining the environmental and social impacts mining developments in Aboriginal communities across Canada's territorial north. Our research will develop social economy capacity by helping Native and non-Native communities identify key problems related to single-industry developments. It will also contribute to government efforts to develop and define appropriate policies and programs to assist social economy development. This work will also inform contemporary debates about on how to promote community sustainability through social economy activities that run parallel to the ephemeral economic life of mineral developments.
Update - Progress Report
As outlined in the grant proposal, the main research activities under the project are being undertaken in conjunction with graduate training of a master's student in the Department of Geography at Memorial University. The student, Jean-Sébastien Boutet, enrolled in the program in September 2008; the following training and research activities have been undertaken since that time
Finally, an application is being prepared for the Research Ethics Board at Memorial University to review the oral history component of the research. This request is being prepared according to the Draft 2nd Edition of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, whose guidelines are currently being reviewed by all graduate students at Memorial University in the context of a compulsory, non-credit research ethics course (the Graduate Research Integrity Program
The current ongoing research activities include the identification and consultation of secondary research material concerning Indigenous history and iron mining history in the Caniapiscau region, with a particular focus on the mining town Schefferville, Quebec, the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach, the Innu Nation of Matimekush - Lac John, and the Iron Ore Company of Canada. In addition, there is a web-based archival reconnaissance of the primary material relevant for this research that will be consulted in person during the summer of 2009. The relevant archival documents that have been identified so far are found at the Archives Nationales du Québec (Montréal, Québec and Côte-Nord regional centers) and the Library and Archives Canada.
Most importantly, there has been a great deal of work done cultivating community contacts and laying the groundwork for oral history interviews and workshops in the upcoming summer months. In the fall 2008, Mr. Boutet traveled to Schefferville to present his project to the two main Indigenous communities that he will be working with for the oral history component of his research. In addition to receiving a formal agreement from both band offices to proceed with the research project, community members who could potentially take part in the interview process as either participants or collaborators were identified and met with. This trip also allowed for a furthered understanding of the current situation on the ground in Schefferville, and has greatly contributed to a re-thinking and refinement of research questions, methodologies and theoretical framework
As supervisors, we are pleased with the preparatory research and training components completed thus far. We anticipate that the archival and community fieldwork undertaken by Mr. Boutet will provide a substantial basis for both his thesis and subsequent reporting to SERNNoCA on the connections between mining, northern development and the social economy of Northern Quebec, especially as it impacted northern Native communities.