MA (Sociology and Anthropology), 2001
Nola Markey is working with aboriginal groups in Canada to protect their cultural and environmental resources.
Markey is the lead of Crane Heritage Reseach consultancy. Previous to this role, she spent almost ten years as a cultural anthropologist and archaeologist with Golder Associates, a large ground engineer and environmental consulting firm. Markey is a Saulteaux member of the O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nation community in Manitoba and completed a Master’s Degree in Sociology and Anthropology at SFU in 2001.
Markey conducts archaeological assessments and traditional land use studies with First Nations groups to ensure that their heritage is preserved during resource management development, such as mining or hydro projects. In addition, she builds and delivers Aboriginal cultural awareness courses and Aboriginal strategy plans to help organizations such as Golder Associates improve their capacity to work with First Nation groups.
“I feel that if industry and the general population better understands Aboriginal history they will be more forward thinking and be able to work more respectfully and effectively with Aboriginal groups. Many companies are very open to supporting these initiatives so I’m very excited about what we will be able to accomplish,” she says.
Markey is also helping to further bridge the divide between industry and First Nation groups by supporting local residents to participate in the cultural stewardship process.
“I want First Nations to be more involved and have a say in heritage sites protection. It’s important to encourage more Aboriginal archaeologists to pursue this discipline so that First Nation organizations can be empowered to manage their own cultural affairs,” she says.
To help local community members become more active in land-use projects, Markey delivers a provincial certification course to provide standard training in practical field methods for individuals assisting archaeologists in cultural resource management process. She also works to encourage First Nations to pursue and complete post-secondary degrees in archaeology by leading Resource Information Standards Committee training courses across.
Markey notes that being part of a cultural shift that is supporting First Nation communities to have a stronger role in the stewardship of their cultural and environmental resources is an incredible experience—and one that she never expected to be in.
“I was an accountant working for property management companies in Ontario. I worked in that industry for several years but I was just didn't care about what I was doing. I felt like I was just shuffling numbers,” she says.
Markey returned to university to pursue a BA in anthropology and a minor in archaeology at SFU, as well as a First Nations Studies Research Certificate. She then went on to complete an anthropology graduate degree.
“My MA was a great experience, I was able to work on research projects and teach anthropology and archeology at Thomson Rivers University and SFU at the same time to encourage aboriginal students to pursue this discipline. Being able to share my passion with others was very meaningful to me,” she says.
Markey is now contiuing to pursue her passion for this field as a doctoral student in SFU's Department of Archaeology.
- Written by Jackie Amsden and the Office of Graduate Studies & Postdoctoral Fellows
Published in 2015