Haeden Stewart

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Chicago, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9307

Approve Date

April 20, 2016

Project Title

Stewart, Haeden E., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Toxic Legacies of Mill Creek Ravine: Contested Landscapes of Industrialization and Colonialism in Western Canada,' supervised by Dr. Shannon L. Dawdy

Preliminary abstract: This project examines the relationship between industrialization (the development of infrastructure, the standardization of commodities, and the development of a labouring class) and settler colonialism in the context of early twentieth century meat-packing plants in Edmonton, Alberta. Following a recent trend in historical anthropology on ruins and ruination, this project focuses beyond the period of industrialization itself, onto how different legacies from this industrialization endure into the present both materially and as contested objects of discourse. These harms are not merely social, but ecological as well, manifesting in long-term persistent toxins that bioaccumulate in animals or sit latent in soils, waters and sediments. In Mill Creek Ravine, the center of the early Albertan Meat-packing industry, as well as the site of one of the most blatant appropriations of an Indigenous reservation, the municipal government has attempted to undo these colonial harms by turning the area into a ‘native species park’. Following longstanding claims that Canada’s colonial legacy exists in the past, the municipal government has likewise attempted to situate colonial legacies solely in the past. Drawing from ethnography, archaeological excavation, environmental science and archival research on three early meat-packing plants along Mill-Creek this project attempts to compare official governmental accounts of these histories and their legacies against contrasting claims from local labour and Indigenous groups. Not only to juxtapose local narratives of the past against governmental versions of history but to track the ecological and social legacies of industrialization into the present, and determine to what extant these historical processes can be situated solely ‘in the past’.