Michael Robinson – “My life in applied anthropology”

Michael Robinson – “My life in applied anthropology”
by David Bedry, 19 Jan 2023.

Our January speaker Michael Robinson, an Order of Canada recipient, spoke about his work with indigenous peoples and Metis of Fort MacKay affected by the mining and refining of the Fort McMurray tar sands.

To recognize the importance of the land to the people living off it Micheal worked with elders to record their resources on maps. These maps showed areas of trapping, fishing, big game, trees, plants, berries, and cultural land.

The study was taken to the government and the board of Syn Crude in an effort to protect these resources.

It was successful and other indigenous groups in Northern Canada asked for help with similar studies. Micheal through his position as CEO of the Arctic Institute of North America at the University of Calgary helped put their resources together to create additional studies.

The crowning effort was when Mikhail Gorbachev funded a similar study for the Sami reindeer herders around Murmansk in northern Russia.

Michael concluded his talk with a few amusing readings from his book You Have Been Referred – My Life In Applied Anthropology.