PhD Dissertations: Brian Eyton Spurling, 1986

Archaeological Resource Management in Western Canada

The development and practice of archaeological resource management (a.r.m.) in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba is analyzed from a policy science perspective. The impact of Euro-Canadian settlement on the region's Indian peoples and on the archaeological evidence of their tenure is documented. A.r.m.'s rise as a public policy field is charted and comparisons are drawn with the concurrent development of culture resource management in the United States. Provincial policies and the bureaucracies established to administer them are contrasted. Problems in regulatory activity, inventory development and site conservation are then explored. Nine target groups with stakes in regional archaeology are discussed insofar as they affect and are affected by resource management issues. Included are environmental regulatory agencies, developers, consultants, academics, museum curators, avocationalists, professional associations, Indians and the public. Societal decision-making processes such as environmental assessment, public forums, and policy analytic techniques, especially benefit-cost analysis, are examined. It is argued that increased participatory effort in these processes is required if a.r.m. is to become more effective. Such involvement in public policy-making may revivify archaeology, which exhibits uncertainty about its practice and future. Renewal seems feasible given several "megatrends" appearing as post-industrialism and postmodernism supersede the normative values of modern, industrial society. Congruent with these trends is an emerging recognition of archaeology's ideological role and its potential to construct a more self-reflective past conducive to achieving greater social equity.