Living landscapes of Granville Lake, Manitoba
DisciplineEnvironmental Studies : Northern Environments & Cultures
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This thesis addresses aspects of indigenous knowledge held by members of the community of Pickerel Narrows, located on Granville Lake, Manitoba as part of a larger community-based heritage research project led by Kevin Brownlee of the Manitoba Museum. Consistent with other Cree communities in Subarctic Canada, indigenous knowledge has been the primary means of inter-generational transmission of cultural knowledge. Over the past 150 years this cultural system has been increasingly challenged by acculturation, and such transformation has accelerated in recent decades through exposure to mass-media, more regular and pervasive contact with non-Aboriginal Canada, and modern development projects within northern Manitoba. Of great concern for community members is the documentation of elements of the Cree cultural landscape in anticipation of future development. The objectives of this research are to explore the dynamics of the cultural landscapes of Granville Lake; identify what makes Pickerel Narrows and surrounding areas on Granville Lake a meaningful place for community members; and to explore patterned variation in stories and story-telling, to help uncover the root of variations among shared indigenous knowledge. Indigenous knowledge acts as a oral recitation of a community’s history, used to maintain community identity and ensure cultural continuity over generations. The integration of indigenous knowledge and landscape studies can help to facilitate the cultural survival of a particular group over time. In the case of Pickerel Narrows, oral traditions have aided in the transmission and preservation of the socio-cultural and spiritual basis of their culturally important landscapes.