I am a recent doctoral graduate from the Department of Archaeology. I am a qualitative researcher with a background in both archaeology and anthropology. I love putting together different types of data to see how things fit.
My research interests include Aboriginal rights and title; activism and archaeology; community-based research; heritage policy and law; and heritage resource management in North America.
I have lived in Vancouver for almost my entire life, and still haven't found enough reasons to leave. I am an avid swimmer and surfer, and spent several years commuting by bicycle from Kits to SFU Burnaby (yes, even up the mountain). In my spare time, I obsessively find more textile-based hobbies to master: sewing, knitting, spinning.
Fun fact: I am a third-generation PhD. My father and step-father are both faculty at SFU; my grandmother, mother, and brother all completed degrees at SFU; and my grandfather has an honorary degree from SFU.
Why did you choose to come to SFU?
SFU has one of the best, and most diverse, archaeology departments in North America. I was particularly interested in its focus on Indigenous and community engaged archaeology. I completed my MA in the department and decided to continue my studies here for my PhD.
Tell us about your research and/or program.
My research evaluated how archaeological data has been used as evidence in Aboriginal rights and title litigation in Canada. Aboriginal rights and title acknowledge and affirm Indigenous peoples as the original occupants of Canada. The legal tests to prove these rights require pre-contact or pre-sovereignty evidence of land occupation and use. Archaeology’s ability to challenge, substantiate, and add temporal dimensions to oral and documentary histories makes it an essential tool in the resolution of Aboriginal rights and title. Using qualitative methods, I assessed court decisions, expert witness reports, academic literature, and interviews with archaeological expert witnesses and lawyers to understand how archaeological evidence has influenced the legal tests for Aboriginal rights and title, the types of archaeological data considered for these tests, and the standards data must meet to be considered in court. My investigation indicated that archaeological data have and will continue to be used as evidence in Aboriginal rights and title litigation, particularly to bolster oral histories and historical records. My research is unique in that it brings together the history of Aboriginal rights and title litigation, qualitative examination of archaeological data and evidence, and the personal experiences of archaeologists and the lawyers with whom they worked.
What are you particularly enjoying about your studies/research at SFU?
I am particularly appreciative of the different opportunities I took advantage of as a graduate student. I worked on multiple projects, including the SSHRC-funded Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage (IPinCH) Project. I TA-ed many classes and worked as an RA for several projects. I was involved in several open access initiatives, including an Open Educational Resources Grant through the SFU library and digitizing the SFU Archaeology Press. These projects helped me meet people throughout the university, build connections, and gain new skills. They enriched my degree and my time at SFU.
Have you been the recipient of any major or donor funded awards?
I was a recipient of a SSHRC doctoral fellowship, the SFU President's PhD Scholarship, and the Dr. J.V. Christensen Award. I am very appreciative of the funding I received during my degree. Vancouver is a very expensive city to live in and funding helped me be able to focus on my studies.
I am also very appreciative of SFU's generous Travel and Minor Research Awards. These semi-annual awards helped me attend conferences throughout North America during my degree. Without them, I would have lost important opportunities to network and share my research.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Contact Erin: firstname.lastname@example.org
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