ICHT Bulletin 2016-2 | Canada’s Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve as Economic Development and Colonial Placemaking

“In the Name of Profit” (ICHT Bulletin 2016-1) (PDF) deconstructs the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve/Region (MABR), a UNESCO biosphere reserve located on the populated east coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. From a critical heritage perspective, MABR is seen as late modern colonialism and placemaking.


Taking a critical heritage approach to naming and placemaking in contemporary Canada, we discuss how the power to name reflects the power to control people, their land, their past, and ultimately their future. Our case study is the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve (MABR), a recently invented place on Vancouver Island, southwest British Columbia. Through analysis of representations and landscape, we explore MABR as state-sanctioned branding, where a dehumanized nature is packaged for and marketed to wealthy ecotourists. Greenwashed by a feel-good “sustainability” discourse, MABR constitutes colonial placemaking and economic development, representing no break with past practices.

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ICHT Bulletin 2016-1 | First Nation Seafood Security and Food Sovereignty

A background report on Aboriginal Northwest Coast and Salish Sea food security, titled First Nation Seafood Security and Food Sovereignty in Greater Nanaimo, Snuneymuxw Territory, Vancouver Island, is now available online as ICHT Bulletin 2016-1 (PDF). The report’s executive summary states:

This preliminary background study explores coastal First Nations’ food security, emphasizing Pacific Northwest Coast and Salish Sea food systems broadly and Snuneymuxw (Nanaimo) territory, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, in particular. The report has three parts: (a) an introduction to (sea)food security discourse, where Aboriginal food insecurity is connected to issues of sovereignty and colonization; (b) an overview of Snuneymuxw (Nanaimo) traditional economy, highlighting post-1800 settler population growth and concomitant Snuneymuxw maritime heritage landscape destruction; and (c) an extensive bibliography of coastal food security and sovereignty resources emphasizing Canada, British Columbia, Vancouver Island, and the Nanaimo region. Food insecurity is a serious problem for all Salish Sea Nations, including the Snuneymuxw. A highly complex issue with major implications for Aboriginal health and wellbeing, there is no single “solution.” Rather, radical change is necessary. Minimally, this involves confronting and overcoming colonialism, capitalism, and the ideology of growth, development, and progress.

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