Oil Sands Extraction in Alberta, Canada: a Review of Impacts and Processes Concerning Indigenous Peoples

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Abstract

We review literature about Canada’s oil sands, pertaining to Indigenous Peoples. We draw on a range of recent published and unpublished sources. We find that social science research on oil sands extraction has been inadequate, even as the region has undergone transformation. Available research suggests that Indigenous communities feel resigned to further loss of their subsistence landbase. Due to the rapid pace of expansion, emergent issues and questions exist that cannot be readily synthesized. Decision-makers are not specialists in Indigenous issues or social impacts, and are not always supported by experts within their organizations. There is a need to review the qualifications of some social science consultants who work on impact assessment and consultation. The most vulnerable Indigenous people and communities face worrying health risks and evident pollution as they lose access to special places and preferred sources of food and water, entailing loss of cultural, spiritual, and familial connections.

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Westman, C. N., & Joly, T. L. (2019). Oil Sands Extraction in Alberta, Canada: a Review of Impacts and Processes Concerning Indigenous Peoples. Human Ecology, 47(2), 233–243. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10745-019-0059-6

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