Canadian Oil Sands and First Nations Communities in Northern Alberta
Dr. Clinton Westman’s interdisciplinary research draws on environmental studies and cultural anthropology. With most of his research concentrating on First Nations groups in northern Alberta, Dr. Westman studies Oil Sands development, its social and environmental impacts, and how it is perceived by First Nations groups.
Dr. Westman also examines First Nations peoples’ relationships with animals – how they are perceived as a food source and how they take on spiritual elements. This is associated with the Oil Sands research by examining ways of life in treaty lands and how development is altering modes of living. The environmental impact to northern Alberta has altered the habitats of animals used by communities that draw on hunting, gathering and fishing techniques to supplement their food supply.
Looking at the impact of the Oil Sands on First Nations peoples involves an interdisciplinary approach. By taking into account the social, cultural and environmental consequences of the Oil Sands for First Nations communities in Canada, Dr. Westman hopes to bring attention to Oil Sands ramifications that have yet to be explored.
Dr. Westman is interested in this field as little research has been done previously. With the Oil Sands a controversial topic in Canada, this research will be important for Canadians for years to come to determine possible impacts on not just the environment but society too.