Graduate student wins U.S. scholarship

March 23, 2006, vol. 35, no. 6



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A prestigious scholarship from the Society for American Archaeology will help defray research costs for First Nations student Vera Asp, who is pursuing a PhD in archaeology. She is receiving a National Science Foundation (NSF) scholarship for archaeological training for Native Americans and Hawaiians.

"I'm very excited, honoured and grateful," says Asp. Under the supervision of archaeology professor Knut Fladmark, she is researching the pre-contact history of the Stikine River valley in northern B.C., her traditional territory as a member of the Tahltan nation.

"I'm attempting to reconstruct a cultural landscape from 1750 to 1950 - that's 100 years pre-contact and 100 years post."

The work is vital, she says, because very little research has been done on the Tahltan people, who have a complex, sophisticated, abstract society.

"Right now, we're being bombarded by development companies wanting to go into our territory, so this heritage and cultural landscape that I'm doing will provide our community with information and data from which to make good decisions affecting our valley."

Asp, who is one of three women in her nation to study at the doctoral level, plans to train local Tahltan young people to assist in her research.

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