Karen Aird: On a Mission to Change the Game for Indigenous Heritage Places in Canada
Karen Aird is a member of Saulteau First Nations, Karen is the founding president of the Indigenous Heritage Circle, an emerging national organization that is Indigenous-designed and led.
In her work as an archaeologist and a heritage advisor for various First Nations groups throughout the province of British Columbia, Karen is used to seeing Indigenous heritage issues brought forward only in the context of required approvals for resource development.
“Often when a company is required to do an environmental assessment, they will do what we call ‘traditional use’ studies. But those traditional use studies do not deal with protection or long-term preservation of our heritage,” she says.
Karen believes this time of reconciliation is also the right moment for people to start thinking differently about heritage: about how Indigenous people perceive it and how they want to protect it.
“We do have our own methods and approaches to protecting and interpreting heritage, and we feel it’s really time now for Indigenous people to have a voice,” says Aird.