Theses (Anthropology)

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    Ancient abundance, distribution, and size of Olympia Oysters (Ostrea lurida) in the Salish Sea: a perspective from the Lekwungen village of Kosapsom (DcRu-4), southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia
    (2024) Vollman, Taylor; McKechnie, Iain
    Olympia oysters (Ostrea lurida) are the only oyster species native to the Northwest Coast of North America and are currently a focus of restoration and management following a collapse over the past 150 years. This thesis examines 42 archaeological assemblages containing Olympia oysters in the Salish Sea to better understand Indigenous uses, changes in abundance and distribution between ancient and modern and develops a method to estimate ancient size-at-harvest from partial valves. I observe that Olympia oysters are not a particularly abundant species in archaeological sites when measured by weight and MNI (<15% relative frequency) except in a few sites with high abundance in specific nearshore habitats and locations. Additionally, I examine the size and abundance of Olympia oysters from the Kosapsom Village site (DcRu-4), a site with exceptionally high Olympia oyster frequency (~68 % MNI) located on Southern Vancouver Island in British Columbia in the traditional territories of Esquimalt and Songhees Nations. I compare oyster size ranges from Kosapsom to modern restoration sites and observe that sizes are larger than modern oysters in the same waterway but are similar to a 20+ year restoration site in Fidalgo Bay, Washington. Both abundance and size at Kosapsom increased over 1800 years. I interpret these increased sizes (~14% increase) as reflective of harvesting restrictions and population enhancement strategies, which are consistent with maintaining long-term harvest stability. This research contributes to the growing recognition that archaeological records of traditional Indigenous shellfish use and management hold great potential to expand historical baselines and inform modern coastal restoration and conservation strategies.
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    The Petroglyphs of the Qeydu Valley in Teymare, Central Iran: Style, Relative Dating, and Landscape
    (2024-01-04) Karimi, Ebrahim; Nowell, April; Lam, Yin
    Archaeological surveys have resulted in the identification of a large number of rock art sites in Iran in recent years. However, our understanding of the main aspects of rock art in central Iran has remained limited. Despite the large number of petroglyphs identified in this area, the possible age of the petroglyphs, their stylistic characteristics, regional distribution, and associated landscape have not been adequately explored. To tackle these gaps in the rock art of the central plateau of Iran, this research investigates relative dating, stylistic features, and the distribution of the sites across the Qeydu Valley. Situated on the borders of Isfahan and Markazi provinces in central Iran, Qeydu Valley is part of a larger region called Teymare, where large clusters of petroglyphs have been identified in recent years. The fieldwork conducted to collect data for this research resulted in the identification of new rock art sites in the Qeydu Valley. The relative age of the petroglyphs was investigated using relative dating methods, including iconography, stylistic comparisons, superimposition, patination, and inscriptions. The stylistic characteristics of the petroglyphs were analyzed to look for possible stylistic sequences and regional styles of rock art in the Qeydu Valley. GIS analysis, including predictive modeling, density, and visibility/viewshed analyses, was applied to explore the landscape of the petroglyphs and to test the possible correlation between the placement of the petroglyphs and environmental factors. The stylistic analysis proposed that most petroglyphs do not show adequate visual similarities together; therefore, they do not qualify to be classified as a regional style. Relative dating analysis suggested that some petroglyphs were made during the Islamic period and cannot be older than the historical times, Sassanid, or Parthian at most. GIS analysis proposed that large concentrations of the petroglyphs were situated at an accessible distance from water sources and potential pathways. The result of the cost distance, Least-Cost-Path and viewshed analysis indicated that the placement of the petroglyphs was possibly intended only for a specific restricted audience and not for the public, as they were neither easily accessible nor adequately visible in the landscape.
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    Telling My Auto EthnoGRAPHIC Story through My Drawings of Stó:lō and Sq'éwqel Archival History
    (2024-01-04) Forseth, Chelsea; Walsh, Andrea N.; Boudreault-Fournier, Alexandrine
    I used visual research methods such as drawing for inquiry and creating auto-ethnographic multimedia graphic stories about my experiences with Sq'éwqel Seabird Island First Nation and Stó:lō First Nation archival history (including archival audio recordings and photos), my reflections, and memories as a Sq'éwqel Seabird Island community member. Archie Charles’ oral stories from the Seabird Island Strength of Claim Project Database are central to this project. I explored drawing as a research method to establish a personal connection with archival history and community and create community-accessible resources for future education initiatives. Through this research, I found that I, the participant/researcher, became very curious and inspired by the inquiry, which forged a stronger connection to my community. In sharing my Indigenous graphic stories, I hope to find a way to educate on the diversity of Indigenous perspectives and engage readers in a way that connects them to Indigenous archival history and culture. These findings will be put forward to create unique Sq'éwqel Seabird Island First Nation educational programming.
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    Resonant Relationality: Sonic Explorations of a Berlin Holocaust Memorial
    (2024-01-03) Bookhalter, Elli; Boudreault-Fournier, Alexandrine
    This thesis examines how engaging with sound at Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (MMJE) can be used to broaden discourses of Holocaust commemoration. Situated in central Berlin, the MMJE is a massive public memorial that is approximately 19,000 square meters in size and consists of 2711 rectangular concrete stelae with space to walk in between. Opening in 2005, it has become a well-known site of contemporary Holocaust memory, as it is regularly visited by tourists from all around the world. For this project, I spent 17 days in Berlin conducting fieldwork, recording sounds at various locations and times in the memorial. I also worked with 5 research participants, each of whom shared their own reflections and/or audio recordings displaying the different ways in which they relate to the sounds they encountered at the memorial. They were asked to walk around the space, actively listen and identify the sounds they heard, and share their thoughts on the experience. Each participant was invited to upload their contribution to a website ( where all of their work can be appreciated. This project demonstrates that much of the current discourse surrounding Holocaust commemoration is lacking in how the modality of sound is engaged with at existing sites of Holocaust memory. Using sonic and musical metaphors as well as soundscape compositions, this thesis explores various ways in which Steven Feld’s acoustemology, or knowing through sound, can be used to broaden these discourses. At a time where there are fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors to tell their stories, expanding our understanding of how public Holocaust memorialization is related to and engaged with is more crucial than ever before.
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    Form and Function: An Ontogenetic Study of Adaptive Responses in Human Pelvic Morphology
    (2023-12-04) MacKinnon, Marla; Kurki, Helen
    Human pelvic morphology has often been described in terms of an evolutionary compromise between bipedalism, encephalization, and obstetrics, however recent research has argued that the pelvis is more biologically plastic than previously thought. Variation in pelvic form exists among adult populations, but the factors influencing this variation, and when it manifests during growth, remain to be understood. The aim of this study is to investigate patterns of growth and development of the pelvis, and to consider how ecological factors, including activity, may affect this growth. Pelvic morphology was examined using a geometric morphometrics approach in an ontogenetic sample of pelvic bones from four forager populations, two of whom pursued terrestrial foraging strategies (Later Stone Age southern Africa, Indian Knoll) and two of whom pursued marine foraging strategies (Point Hope, Sadlermiut) (juvenile n=169; adult n=88). Principal components analysis shows population-based patterning in ilium morphology from birth, but a similar pattern is not apparent in the ischium. This may imply a greater degree of adaptive response in the ilium to environmental stimuli or may reflect body shape differences. Age-related changes appear to be the most prominent source of variation in ischium morphology. Cross-sectional geometric (CSG) measures of long bones (humerus, femur, and tibia), representing habitual activity patterns, were used to examine the impact of loading on pelvic morphology. No relationship was found between pelvic shape and CSG measures, suggesting that pelvic morphology is not influenced by habitual behaviours. As has been hypothesized for epiphyseal morphology, it may be that the functional significance of the pelvis has led to a form that is more canalized and less plastic than the cross-sectional parameters of long bones. Instead, it seems that group differences, which may be driven by climate-related directional selection or neutral evolutionary processes (or, most likely, a combination thereof), as well as ontogenetic allometry, are the strongest drivers of morphological variation in the ilium and the ischium during growth.
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    Form and Function of Food-Associated Calling in the Rekambo Community of Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) in Loango National Park, Gabon
    (2023-09-28) Warshawski, Lindsey; Kalan, Ammie
    An important question in human evolution is when, how, and why did our species develop language. While the gap between human and non-human communication is significant, the cognitive precursors of human language are argued to be rooted in our primate lineage. One of our closest living relatives, chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), offers insight into which communicative capacities emerged before and after hominins diverged from the Pan lineage seven to eight million years ago. Chimpanzees possess several short- and long-distance vocalizations that serve a variety of social functions and are emitted in various contexts. Chimpanzee food-associated calls (FACs) are emitted in foraging contexts; however, these vocalizations are only produced for approximately half of all feeding events. Investigating the social and ecological contexts in which FACs are produced can shed light on the functions of these calls. This is in turn can help us understand what chimpanzees are conveying with their vocalizations. This thesis seeks to contribute to the variability in both form and function(s) observed in wild chimpanzees’ FACs. This research explores if the FACs of the Rekambo chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) community in Loango National Park, Gabon function to attract conspecifics to a food patch; if callers direct FACs toward nearby individuals; and, if FACs function to promote proximity between group members. How fundamental frequency (F0) (the lowest frequency of a given sound measured in hertz (Hz)) of FACs changes over the course of a feeding event is also examined. Lastly, whether FACs function referentially is investigated by testing differences in F0 in relation to food types. Results show that the focal was more likely to food call upon arriving to a feeding event where they fed for longer with at least one other individual, potentially prolonging inter-individual proximity between group members. The F0 of FACs decreased as calling progressed throughout a feeding event, with calls emitted earlier tending to have higher fundamental frequencies than those emitted later on. Overall, these findings support the notion that FACs are influenced by social contexts, and that acoustic variation correlates to arousal. These findings align with results shown in other wild chimpanzee communities, while also providing new insight regarding acoustic properties concerning arousal while feeding. Finally, this work also adds to the growing body of literature that the function(s) of chimpanzee food calls may vary across communities.
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    A Landscape Archaeological Approach to Accumulative Stone Throwing (AST) in West African Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus)
    (2023-05-25) Nakano, Robyn; Kalan, Ammie K.
    In Boé National Park in Guinea-Bissau, a community of wild Western chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) has been observed engaging in a novel, potentially cultural, behaviour, accumulative stone throwing (AST). Individuals habitually throw rocks at particular trees, making AST a unique instance of primate stone tool use in a non-foraging context. Repeated throws at the same location leave conspicuous sites on the landscape; therefore, a landscape archaeological approach permits the cross-temporal study of AST trees as archaeological sites connected to human- and chimpanzee-created aspects of this shared landscape and consideration of the ways these aspects contribute to the significance of certain places to the chimpanzees. By mapping the distribution of AST sites, I determine how landscape features influence the selection of specific locations for AST. AST sites were analyzed with QGIS, using spatial mapping analysis integrating multiple sources of data including chimpanzee space-use, rock and tree surveys, proximity to rivers, chimpanzee resources, human settlements, and topographical features. The presence of food trees, in particular Ficus exasperata and Parkia biglobosa, has a significant influence on the likelihood of AST site presence. The frequency of indirect signs of chimpanzee activity was also an important predictor, indicating that AST sites are more likely to occur in the territorial core, an area of high chimpanzee use which contains an abundance of nesting sites and reliable food sources. Increasing our understanding of non-human primate behaviour through spatial archaeological approaches can inform archaeological inferences relevant for hominin evolution and the development of cultural behaviours. Given the Critically Endangered status of Western chimpanzees, studying AST may not only expand knowledge about our hominin ancestors, but also provide support for the importance of biological and cultural diversity in chimpanzee populations.
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    The gift and the market: alternative economic relations in the Comox Valley local exchange trading system
    (2023-04-28) Blacklock, Brayden; Rudnyckyj, Daromir
    The Comox Valley Local Exchange Trading System (LETSystem) was a complementary community monetary system active in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island during the 1980s and 1990s. Drawing on archival sources and ethnographic interviews, I argue that the LETSystem combined the individualized economic rationality of liberalism with the communalism and social embeddedness typically associated with non-monetary gift exchange. As a complementary system of money, the LETSystem was an economic alternative that did not seek to replace conventional money, but instead sought to carve out a distinctive space that was separate but still compatible. In so doing, it was exemplary of illiberal money in the sense that it conforms with key liberal principles such as market exchange, individualism, and the division of labour, while also consciously formulating a critique of liberal money in its rejection of the profit-generating capacity of money as well as the scarcity and competition that it can elicit. Illiberal money produces a specific morality where users encouraged one another to act according to an individually defined vision of responsible behaviour where one was expected to first contribute something before spending money. This act led to the perception of a greater degree of interpersonal connection than is typical of liberal markets while still allowing for the pursuit of individual gains, and therefore problematized the dichotomy between the gift and the market.
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    Stability and Crisis: Creating a Sense of Home in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside
    (2023-04-27) Taylor, Sophia; Boudreault-Fournier, Alexandrine
    Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) is an extensively researched neighbourhood, as the nexus of the city’s affordable housing crisis. The lack of affordable apartments and houses in the area has led to widespread improvisation and adaptation among community members. Many living spaces, such as SRO hotels and streets, do not provide the same sense of privacy and control common among those with access to private, self-contained suites and houses. Despite the unique nature of these practices, the process of home-making in the DTES has gone largely ignored by ethnographies of home. This thesis presents community members’ own stories of home, shared in interviews, to argue for the broadening of the ethnographic understanding of the home. In the DTES, community members speak not only of a private, physical home in their rooms or suites, but of a broader social home consisting of friendships, family, and other interpersonal supports. These two meanings of the word “home” coexist in the neighbourhood, and often overlap to demonstrate a strong sense of place-based community. This thesis argues for the inclusion of these definitions of home in home ethnography, broadening ethnographic understandings of the home to allow for the improvisation and flexibility that are so common in contexts of housing insecurity. The DTES described by community members provides a vibrant, layered home for its residents. Although many community members struggle to find stable housing, many already have a sense of home; this sense of home is presented here at the intersection of home and urban ethnographies.
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    Walking-With Wellness: Understanding Intersections of Indigenous Literacy and Health Through Podcasting
    (2023-01-30) Toorenburgh, Lydia; Boudreault-Fournier, Alexandrine; Loignon, Christine
    Have you ever seen a doctor and been sent home with forms and pamphlets to read and fill out? Reading and writing in English is a key skill for patients to access quality health care in Canada. Recent research demonstrates that patients with low print literacy face greater barriers when accessing and navigating the health system (Rootman and Ronson 2005). Indigenous people often meet greater challenges and, on average, experience poorer health (Loppie Reading and Wien 2009). How do Indigenous people with low print literacy experience the health system? In this research project set in lək̓ʷəŋən territory (Victoria, B.C.), Bungi-Metis student researcher, Lydia Toorenburgh, seeks to amplify the voices of Indigenous people with low print literacy to understand the barriers and challenges they face as well as their strengths and calls to action for the health system. The methodology includes walking-with, kiyokewin, collaborative editing, podcasting, beading, and incorporation of ceremony, and was designed to raise up these underrepresented voices. Lydia embarked on six walking visits through locations the research partners identified as important to their health. Each walk was audio-recorded, collaboratively edited, and made into podcasts. By creating podcasts, the research partners’ voices and knowledges are centralized, amplified, and conveyed untranslated by the researcher. Through collaborative editing and a beading circle, research partners had greater control over their knowledges and narratives. Research encounters were carried out with the Cree-Metis value turned research method, kiyokewin / the visiting way (Gaudet 2019), to share and create knowledge in a relational, culturally relevant manner. The powerful words of these community members help us better understand how low print literacy impacts the quality and accessibility of health care for Indigenous patients. Sharing stories of racism, intergenerational trauma, and clashing worldviews alongside those of resilience, intergenerational healing, and community care, these six knowledgeable storytellers have much to teach all listeners.
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    Legal Entanglements in Place: Hul'q'umi'num' law, provincial jurisdiction and the protection of Hw'teshutsun, a Hul'q'umi'num' cultural landscape
    (2022-12-09) Argan, Jennifer; Thom, Brian
    In 2001, Cowichan Tribes successfully negotiated the protection of an important cultural landscape, preventing imminent logging and development through a treaty-related measures (TRM) agreement with British Columbia (BC), Canada and the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group (HTG). This was the first land protection TRM in BC which protected 1700 hectares at Hw’teshutsun, located in the Cowichan Valley on southeast Vancouver Island, BC. The TRM followed the declaration of a “tribal preserve” by Cowichan Tribes (Cowichan Tribes, 2000a) and a ceremony between five Hul’q’umi’num’-speaking communities to share, “protect, preserve and maintain Hw’te shutsun for the use and benefit of present and future generations” (Cowichan Tribes, Stz’uminus First Nation, Halalt First Nation, Lyackson First Nation and Penelakut Tribe 2000). This protection TRM is notable as it is an exercise of provincial jurisdiction which attends to the cultural, rather than ecological, value of Hw’teshutsun: legislative actions undertaken through the TRM protect Hw’teshutsun in accordance with Hul’q’umi’num’ teachings. In effect, the TRM is an entanglement of Hul’q’umi’num’ and Canadian law which has resulted in the protection of an off-reserve Hul’q’umi’num’ cultural landscape – a green, forested area observable in satellite imagery amidst a territory that is over 85% privately owned and devastated by logging and urban development. In such a context, the work done by Cowichan Tribes leadership is a significant achievement, a successful assertion of their jurisdiction to protect a Hul’q’umi’num’ cultural landscape in accordance with their teachings. This thesis documents the work done by Cowichan Tribes in asserting their authority and jurisdiction at Hw’teshutsun through both their own legal pathways and in relation to municipal, provincial and federal governments to prevent logging and the construction of a dump and a race car track. Teachings shared by Cowichan Elders and knowledge keepers about Hw’teshutsun stem from an intimate knowledge of “place” (for examples of intimate relationships with place, see Basso 1996; Mohs 1994; Thom 2017; Charlton 2018; Thornton 2008), which is reflected in Hul’q’umi’num’ law (Morales 2014; McLay et al. 2008; Morales and Thom 2020). Through extensive work by Cowichan Tribes leadership, teachings about the integrity of the landscape – particularly quiet and seclusion around places within Hw’teshutsun – shaped exercises of provincial jurisdiction, protecting a large area through rather than typical mitigation strategies that seek to shrink Indigenous peoples’ relationships with the land to tiny, isolated sites. Understanding these legal entanglements opens possibilities for innovative governance that attends to Indigenous peoples’ teachings of places and their enactments of their own laws shaping the governance of shared landscapes.
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    Ethno-Graphic Gatherings of Nonbinary Visual Narratives on TikTok
    (2022-09-07) Costain, Raey; Walsh, Andrea N.
    This thesis is an exploration in graphic anthropology alongside a digital community of nonbinary people on the social media app, TikTok. Nonbinary visuality is a complicated and still poorly understood set of experiences largely due to a lack of thoughtful representation in both academic and non-academic circles. This work applies comic-style drawing to gather nonbinary visual narratives as they are shared digitally. In doing so, this work contributes to an understanding of what it might mean to ‘look’ nonbinary. Between September 2021-May 2022 I conducted a digital ethnography on TikTok. I applied comic drawing as my primary mode of notetaking and communicating about my experiences. I also recruited 5 nonbinary social media mutuals who each contributed 1-6 video clips to my project. Informed by these video clips and my own auto-ethnographic experiences on the app, I created a collection of comic style drawings. Selections of these drawings were shared on social media (@enbyanthro) and through an interactive documentary housed on my project website ( Throughout my work here, I consider drawing as a process of gathering - of bringing together and being together. As I gathered individual nonbinary narratives through my drawing method I connected those stories to broader dialogues about being nonbinary. The ethno-graphic gatherings discussed here are made up of both personal narratives and shared experiences, brought together through the process of drawing.
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    Learning at Ye'yumnuts in Reflections
    (2022-09-02) Martindale, Ella; Thom, Brian
    This document represents a holistic account of two years’ work thinking about place-based learning at Ye’yumnuts from a Quw’utsun Mustimuhw perspective. In acknowledging individual and collective responsibility, and accounting for the slowness of work in place over time, this document signals the need for specific careful conversations about Quw’utsun ways of being in place. Some of the topics highlighted for subsequent engagement include prioritizing Indigenous futures over settler futures when constructing and imagining Indigenous land; the need for a strengthening of Quw’utsun community engagement at Ye’yumnuts in support of further local public-school learning at the site; the potential for a deeper recognition of Quw’utsun protocols to ensure safety for Indigenous and settler visitors at Ye’yumnuts, and a nuanced understanding of visiting a place such as Ye’yumnuts in a public school-setting. This work affirmed my own commitment to thinking through the ways in which Quw’utsun Mustimuhw and their futures can be prioritized at Ye’yumnuts – how this place can be appropriately reintegrated into Quw’utsun territory and into our daily lives. This document indicates a shift in my research and personal intentions, shifting from a focus on public-school resources to an attention to the importance of Ye’yumnuts’ unique connection to its people, and the ways in which this strengthened connection will one day best support public-school learning at Ye’yumnuts and other places in Quw’utsun territory.
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    ‘In the Flesh’: Skeletal Embodiment and Subjectivities in Practice
    (2022-08-23) Campeau-Bouthillier, Cassandre; Mitchell, Lisa
    This dissertation presents the results of a two-year ethnographic study among individuals who practice yoga and/or chiropractic care in Victoria, British Columbia, focusing on their experiences of their musculoskeletal systems. Anthropological research has examined the ways in which we live and experience our bodies as part of how we are in the world (cf. Csordas 1994, 1990; Merleau-Ponty 2007). In comparison with fleshed bodies, skeletons, as foundational aspects of living, breathing corporeality, have remained under-theorised and under-examined as essential aspects of how we perceive our everyday lives. I approach the skeleton as a critical space of bodies, a part of the internal material world that shapes not only the body as an object, but how we are in the world as subjects. Observations at two yoga studios and interviews with 21 individuals enable me to explore the skeleton’s space and place in the lived experiences of embodied selves. My analysis of interview narratives draws principally from theories of materiality and material(s) (Sofaer 2012; Ingold 2007), Mol’s “the body multiple” (2002) and Taylor’s notion of “surfacing” (2005). I argue that skeletal embodiment is deeply material, sensory and sensorial, personal, and critical in the formation of what I am calling the “skeletal subjectivity” of an individual. Specifically, I suggest how, skeletally, bodily-ness is experienced by participants as a means to se prendre en main, that is, ‘taking hold’, ‘taking care of one’s self’, ‘taking one’s self in one’s hands.’ I argue that, among these yoga and chiropractic practitioners, skeletal embodiment and subjectivity is navigated through materiality—that bodies “surface” in various ways through participants experiences and stories (Taylor 2005). My analysis contributes to the anthropology of the body by including skeletal lives as part of our embodiment without discounting previous notions of embodiment or of bodies in general. My idea of se prennent en main is a novel addition to conceptualizing embodiment, encouraging researchers to consider closely how individuals may respond to their sensorial and material body in living their lives.
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    Climbing as a possible selective pressure shaping the human gluteus maximus: An investigation using musculoskeletal modeling and electromyography
    (2022-08-19) Dias, Rae; Murray, Alison; Giles, Joseph
    Differences between humans and extant apes in the pelvis and its key muscle attachment sites are thought to reflect a trade-off between arboreal and bipedal locomotor abilities. Human pelvic morphology enables the hamstrings to effectively power the hip hyperextension necessary for efficient bipedal locomotion, but this morphology is thought to reduce the capacity of these muscles to powerfully extend the hip when in a flexed position typical of arboreal locomotion. This research tested whether the enlarged human gluteus maximus may have been shaped by the continued importance of climbing among humans, as it has been suggested that it plays a compensatory role during powerful hip extension due to the reduced ability of the hamstrings. Musculoskeletal modeling and electromyography were used to assess the relative function of the gluteus maximus and the hamstrings in a human participant across two movement trials that required different amounts of hip extension: 1) bipedal walking, and 2) standing from a deep squat. It was hypothesized that the gluteus maximus would perform more effectively than the hamstrings to power hip extension from the flexed position of the squat. Differences in relative muscle activity across the two motions support this hypothesis in general, and implications for the evolutionary significance of the human gluteus maximus are that this muscle plays an important and likely compensatory role with the hamstrings during both standing up from a squat and bipedal walking. Results support the growing body of research that indicates that it is important to consider a broader range of human locomotive repertoires as of evolutionary significance, beyond solely terrestrial bipedal locomotion.
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    Indigenous archaeological fisheries records provide evidence of multiple baselines in the northeast Pacific
    (2022-04-29) Hillis, Dylan; McKechnie, Iain
    It is well recognized that humans have had a significant role in transforming terrestrial landscapes, yet comparatively little research has examined the long-term impacts of humans on marine ecosystems. As an applied field of research, marine historical ecology draws on archaeological, ecological, and other archival information to reveal the dynamics of marine social-ecological systems. This thesis examines the enduring history of relationships between ancient Indigenous fisheries and marine systems in the northeast Pacific. Specifically, I advance the development and application of two methodologies for 1) quantifying the composition of ancient fish landings, 2) estimating ancient ocean temperatures from archaeological fish bone assemblages, and 3) assessing the scale of ancient shellfish harvests using a regression-based approach. This thesis presents a novel method for estimating the ‘ancient Mean Temperature of the Catch’ (aMTC) using Indigenous fisheries catch records from two archaeological sites in the northeast Pacific. Despite different catch compositions, I observe an increase in aMTC over a 5,000-year period at two contemporaneously occupied archaeological sites in southwestern British Columbia, Canada. Given that preindustrial fisheries data are ubiquitous in coastal archaeological sites, this method has the potential to be applied globally to broaden the temporal and geographic scale of ocean temperature baselines. Furthermore, the regression-based methodology presented in this thesis has broad applicability to archaeological shellfish assemblages, as it allows for reconstructing size frequency distributions of ancient shellfish harvests and refined estimates of clam biomass. Together, these methods offer a long-term perspective on the enduring relationships between Indigenous peoples and marine environments in the northeast Pacific. Furthermore, the methods advanced in this thesis shed light on ancient oceanographic conditions and fisheries practices, which can be used to inform contemporary management efforts. Ultimately, these insights aim to contribute towards ecologically sustainable and socially just operating space for Canada’s Pacific fisheries.
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    wałšiʔałin ʔuuʔaałuk̓i ḥaḥuułi: Coming home to take care of the territory: a project of (re)connecting with traditional lands, waters, knowledge, and identity
    (2022-04-29) Happynook, Tommy; Walsh, Andrea N.
    Written from a nuučaan̓uł perspective this dissertation documents the reclamation of knowledge, teachings, culture, language, responsibilities, and identity through my personal (re)connection to my family’s ḥaḥuułi and hereditary home, čaačaac̓iiʕas. In specific and intentional ways my research, fieldwork, and dissertation are part of a story of reconciliation between myself and čaačaac̓iiʕas, the ḥaḥuułi that my family was dispossessed from because of the impacts of colonization. Despite the near severing of our relationship with čaačaac̓iiʕas and the near destruction of our ḥaḥuułi, čaačaac̓iiʕas is thriving and now is the time to pick up my responsibilities and begin to re-establish a relationship with the natural and spiritual worlds found there. In my research the lands, waters, skies, and natural world are not a place and/or object of inquiry, they are non-human knowledge holders and teachers. The dissertation draws upon on a diverse set of ethnographic, anthropological, and Indigenous literatures. Emphasis is placed upon the use of nuučaan̓uł scholarship, theory, and methodologies including muułmuumps (being rooted to the land), ceremony, language, song, and interviews. The research builds on four kinds of knowledge that are expressed as: 1) known knowledge; 2) incomplete knowledge; 3) unaccounted for and/or unknown knowledge; and, 4) ethnographic/anthropological knowledge. Through this theoretical platform I explore tangible and intangible cultural and hereditary forms of knowledge production. Importantly, I highlight the role of song and sound as critical vehicles through which contemporary Indigenous peoples can connect to historical places and times. I place equal emphasis on the production of sound through song as I do through the reception of song and sound through a methodology of deep listening. Song and sound play a crucial role in my research and form the basis of knowledge transfer between myself, čaačaac̓iiʕas, and my yakʷiimit kʷiyiis nananiqsu (ancestors). Furthermore, the songs shared within this dissertation are the analysis of my data and how I am choosing to disseminate that data. I argue that these connections provide ways for future agendas and aspirations for cultural resurgence and governance to emerge.
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    La Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador (CONAIE) and La Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas de la Amazonía Ecuatoriana (CONFENIAE) online and on-the-ground: representational choices and Indigenous media sovereignty
    (2021-09-28) Hagestedt, Elizabeth; Boudreault-Fournier, Alexandrine
    The development of new Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) has influenced all aspects of communication and representation, altering the ways in which humans interact on a daily basis. Within politics and rights activism, where many issues overlap and representational needs develop and change from one day to the next, these changes are particularly noteworthy. The use of ICTs, particularly social media and mobile technologies, has been widespread in popular protests around the world, and has become an effective aid in the organizing and implementing of large-scale rights campaigns. Indigenous organizations in Ecuador, like those in other parts of the world, have actively adopted new ICTs as they have become available, utilizing websites, social media and mobile applications to connect with members and supporters. Using these technologies requires careful consideration of a wide range of issues, however, such as best practices to ensure inclusive representation, how to overcome infrastructure challenges, how to develop skills for creating high quality media, and how to control and shape messaging through social media. This dissertation analyzes the example of two of these organizations, La Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador (CONAIE) and La Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas de la Amazonía Ecuatoriana (CONFENIAE), each of which represents a large number of Indigenous peoples through a carefully developed communications plan. While firmly based in anthropological literature on representation and media sovereignty, this work pulls from a wide range of disciplines, including Latin American organizational and communications scholars. Drawing from two fieldwork trips to Ecuador from September 2016 to February 2017 and October to December 2017, as well as data collection conducted online throughout that time period, this research takes a broad approach that combines traditional ethnographic, participatory, visual and digital methodologies. These diverse methods led to the development of a broad work with many interwoven layers, which includes chapters examining online communication structure, the example of a social media campaign, discussion of networking, and the relationship between online and on-the-ground actions. The visual and participatory methodologies led to a chapter discussing the development of a series of photovoice workshops with CONFENIAE, which provided an opportunity for the organization to increase the photography skills of their members and begin the creation of an online communication team. Through these various threads, this dissertation broadly examines the representational choices that CONAIE and CONFENIAE make in the course of developing their communication plans, including the ways that websites and social media can be used to supplement campaigns while remaining anchored in on-the-ground actions.
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    Fisheries at a new scale: the contributions of archaeological fish scales in understanding Indigenous fisheries in Wuikinuxv First Nation territory and beyond
    (2021-06-02) Ball, Alyssa Megan; McKechnie, Iain
    Archaeological fisheries information represented in fish scales provides relative abundance and age-at-harvest data that can assist in understanding a range of culturally vital Indigenous fisheries. In this thesis, I undertake fish scale analysis (squamatology) to explore fish scale preservation in twelve coastal archaeological sites from two First Nations’ territories in coastal British Columbia (Wuikinuxv and Tseshaht). These data demonstrate that fish scales are more readily preserved in coastal archaeological deposits than is currently appreciated and can refine species-level identification of culturally significant Indigenous fisheries including forage fish and salmon. Fish scales can additionally generate baseline data on age-at-harvest in Pacific herring and when considered alongside other fisheries records provide relative abundance records for forage fisheries in Wuikinuxv territory that span the last 3000 years. This study additionally temporally anchors eulachon fishing along the Wannock River by at least 3000 years ago extending upon previous archaeological assessments by over 2000 years. I apply the concept of two-eyed seeing, as envisaged by Mi’kmaw elder Dr. Albert Marshall, to recognize the strengths of Indigenous and Western perspectives in developing decolonial practices for sharing archaeological fisheries data with community-based fisheries managers. Two-eyed seeing highlights the strength of archaeological data as deep time records of Indigenous fisheries that can be anchored by Indigenous knowledge including cultural stewardship and fishing practices. In this case study, I provide baseline fisheries data co-derived from archaeological and Indigenous knowledges including deep time accounts of relative abundance and traditional harvest methods that community-based managers may wish to use on their terms to pursue future activities of restoration, renewal, and affirmation of traditional fishing practices.
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    The Japanese communities of Cumberland, British Columbia 1885-1942: portrait of a past
    (2021-06-01) Thomas, Cheryl Maeva; Moyer, David S.
    This study is about a group of Japanese immigrants and their families who lived in Cumberland, a coal mining centre on Vancouver Island, during the first four decades of this century. Specifically, it is about a Japanese village society--people from many regions of rural Japan, most of whom were strangers to each other. While they had a common cultural background, in the new and foreign surroundings of the frontier mining town they forged a new social group. Their common cultural background, while constantly being modified by new experiences, was a unifying force in their adjustment to a new social environment. This group of settlers includes the first immigrant generation, its second generation children, and the beginning of a third generation--grandchildren of the immigrants. The second and third generations, born in Canada, are Canadian citizens, although many of them were also registered in Japan by their parents and, thus, have held dual citizenship. The few first generation immigrants who are still alive are in their mid-eighties and nineties. Generally, their children have passed retirement age, having survived the Depression in their teen years and having passed several of the war years in government-established communities for those people of Japanese descent. The Cumberland Museum and Historical Society's Glass Negative Project--a collection of 786 historic photographs representing a portion of the collective work of two, probably three, Japanese photographers, and spanning a period from 1913 to 1930--has provided a unique opportunity to work with the living subjects of these photographs in recreating the history of Japanese Cumberland. Combined with archival research and fieldwork in the Japanese Canadian community, the memories of aging informants have served to document the way of life of the Japanese people of pre-war Cumberland and have revealed some of the character of the two small, relatively isolated communities known as Number One and Number Five. A picture emerges of the Japanese community of Cumberland and the Japanese communities of Cumberland: the former, perceived by those outside the community to be a homogeneous population and the latter, perceived by members of those communities to have specific and separate identities. While boundaries were created by the geographic relationship of the two Japanese communities and white Cumberland and affected communication and cultural exchange, internal political decisions regarding economic relationships and religious systems influenced the identity and created boundaries between the two Japanese communities. Research shows that each village was characterized by strong internal solidarity and mutual support and, yet, was unique to itself: distinctiveness affected by physical distance, communication differences, internal and external economic relationships, and predominant religious beliefs. Common customs and language, despite dialectic differences, were enhanced by institutions such as the Japanese school and served to strengthen the boundaries between white and Japanese society. As an exercise in salvage ethnography, this project provides a descriptive framework which not only provides new information for the historical record of the settlement of British Columbia but also contributes a body of data which should support further exploration of cultural identity amongst immigrant peoples.