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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Perspectives

The Traditional Use Studies Website explores the history and methodologies for undertaking studies of land use by Aboriginal Peoples. This work involves gathering of information from Elders and other knowledge keepers and creating maps and other documents that make this knowledge accessible. While aspects of the work are scientific in nature, the greatest portion involves a range of cultural and anthropological activities. These are not scientific in nature and there is no single way of doing, for example, oral history, or perceiving findings. There are, thus, differences in perspectives not only between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal participants and interpreters but also the range of interested parties.

This section explores some of this diversity and moves from the theoretical to the applied.

  • Resource Management
    TUS has developed as a tri-partite process involving Aboriginal communities, government and industry. This article explores how Studies can impact on the development of resources since resource use needs involve environmental, social and other perspectives. TUS makes it possible for Aboriginal communities to better understand the value of their resources when approached by development concerns, be they industrial or governmental.
  • Appropriate Land Use
    The relationship with the land and resources is a complex one for Aboriginal communities. They are caught between traditional ways of perceiving land and Natures Laws that are holistic in nature and the Western exploitation mentality. In addition, Treaty provisions enshrine certain rights that must be respected. TUS can provide important information that can be used to bridge past and present, exploitation and preservation.
  • Cultural Use
    Through the interview process, TUS facilitate participatory interaction between generations for the transmission of knowledge. This article demonstrates how Studies can stimulate the sense of belonging and of owning the resources, which, in turn, encourages stewardship of the land. Studies can also become vehicles for the preservation of language and traditions as well as for cultural empowerment.
  • Educational Uses
    Because most of the history of Aboriginal Peoples has been written by Non-Aboriginals, TUS provide a wealth of information that can be used both for formal and informal education. Studies can help in the transmission of traditional knowledge and educate about how Indigenous peoples used the land in the past and still do today.
  • Litigation
    TUS with their wealth of information, including oral histories with Elders and other knowledge keepers, have the potential to be used to support Treaty, land claims and other types of litigation dealing with Aboriginal rights.
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