M.A. Theses: Eldon Carlyle Yellowhorn, 1993
Since the Bad Spirit Became our Master
This research is focused on heritage protection on Indian lands and stems mainly from the lack of any legislation extending protection to heritage sites or antiquities located there. Starting from an initial survey, which was to systematically examine Peigan lands to discover archaeological remains it became obvious that such sites were especially vulnerable precisely because there was no mechanism with which to ensure their long term protection. Consequently this thesis research began to expand and ultimately shifted focus to the issues of heritage management and First Nations stewardship.
In developing this thesis two opposing scenarios immediately become available and each has its strengths and weaknesses. The first is to encourage the federal government to initiate statutory conditions detailing policies for disposition, jurisdiction and investigation. The second is to disperse the responsibilities to the many local governments at the band level as a means of achieving the goal of heritage protection on Indian lands. Allowing for federal initiatives becomes unpalatable for the First Nations as it would appear to be only one more legislated burden upon band governments. Aspirations of autonomy for First Nations must be considered and the imposition of regulations from the central government would make the phrase 'self-government' sound somewhat hollow.
The placement of heritage responsibility as a concern of the Peigan is the starting point for thesis discussion. Supporting this examination is the review of existing legislation as a means of implementing local control and the comparative situations of other aboriginal groups who have had to respond to governmental initiatives, or who are already exercising some level of control over heritage sites. These provide suitable models, or direction, for Peigan archaeology. Lastly, a by-law is proposed for Peigan consideration. It is an attempt to institute a comprehensive framework for addressing the issue in a format that is immediately recognizable within the legal community.