People Profiles

Nola Markey, MA, Sociology and Anthropology

November 03, 2015

Nola Markey is helping aboriginal groups in Canada protect and take control over their cultural and environmental resources. 

Markey is the lead of Crane Heritage Research consultancy and has worked for over 15 years as a cultural anthropologist and archaeologist. 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. 

“One of my most memorable experiences was going out on the land on horseback with two elders to collect stories and data about their cultural practices. We would be scrambling up ridges, and the other researchers and I were dying but these two elders were completely at ease,” says Markey.

In addition, she works to help First Nations participate more actively in land-use projects by leading courses that equip them with industry-standard archaeological skills. “It has been very gratifying seeing people that I have trained take leadership roles in the cultural preservation process,” she says. 

Markey notes that her career in cultural and environmental management has been an incredible journey — especially because it is one that she never expected to be on.

“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. I loved encouraging aboriginal students to pursue this discipline. Being able to share my passion with others was very meaningful to me,” she says. 

Markey is now continuing to pursue her passion for this field as a doctoral student in SFU's Department of Archaeology. 

Author: Jackie Amsden

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