Project Code: FOOMOD-01-016
Program: FRIP
Sponsor:Foothills Research Institute
Project Status:Complete

Additional Sponsors:

  • Weyerhaeuser Company Ltd.
The Aseniwuche Winewak Nation of Canada (AWN) has already recorded many historical and spiritual areas within their traditional territory, located in the foothills and mountains of west- central Alberta. The AWN territory consists of areas that AWN members have used for thousands of years and continue to use today. The historical and spiritual areas include: gravesites, habitation areas, culturally modified tree sites (representing trail markers and trees used for food), ceremonial sites, entertainment areas (areas where events took place), special historical sites, and horse corrals. The AWN continues to gather information on areas that are of interest to the Nation.
Archaeological evidence of human activity near modern-day Grande Cache dates back 14,000 years.
At some time, the Indigenous Peoples in this area became known as the Aseniwuche Winewak, Cree for Rocky Mountain People. The Aseniwuche Winewak have a rich heritage and history: modern bloodlines descend from Cree, Iroquois, Beaver, Sekani, Assiniboine, Ojibwa, and Shuswap. The Beaver, Sekani, and Shuswap were the first inhabitants of AWN territory. There are many reasons why AWN wished to undertake a Traditional Land Use Study (TLU Study) within the area of overlap of their traditional territory and Weyerhaeuser’s Forest Management Agreement area south of Grande Prairie, Alberta.
These are:
1. Develop baseline data so that changes to the land and environment because of resource development can be measured.
2. Create historical evidence to support claims, compensation processes, negotiations, and participation in resource management.
3. Document oral history before further knowledge is lost.
4. Sustain the culture and identity of the community.
5. Improve industry’s awareness of the impacts development can have on traditional uses.
6. Understand and share community knowledge to educate youth, the community, industry, and Canadian society.
7. Identify traditional cultural practices.
All project objectives were completed. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ever-changing associated public health guidelines and restrictions in place since March 2020, some changes were made to our original list of deliverables which resulted in filing an amendment with FRIAA. All project deliverables listed in the amendment were completed. Field site visits took place between May 2019 and September 2020. Crews accessed sites in a combination of different ways including via truck, helicopter, on foot, or off-highway vehicle. Regardless of how the group accessed a site on any given day, on average, crews walked 9.3 km per day in all types of weather. A total of 156 AWN historical and/or cultural sites were visited over the course of the project as well as 4 larger polygon areas of significance.
A total of four Elders, six Traditional Knowledge Holders, two young adults, and three AWN staff participated in the project which exceeded our expectations for capacity building and training within the Nation. Due to the success of this project, both Weyerhaeuser and AWN wished to continue this meaningful work and signed a new FRIP project, FOOMOD-01-029, in July 2021.
Deliverables:
  • Final detailed report, database shell