Post doctoral fellow

Melanie Chaplier is a cultural anthropologist from Belgium who just joined WISIR as a postdoctoral Research Melanie ChaplierFellow. She previously earned her PhD at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve and was a Fulbright Fellow at Dartmouth College in 2015-2016. Based on an extensive ethnographic fieldwork among the people of Nemaska, her work describes and analyzes the social and cultural changes faced by the James Bay Cree since the signing of the "Paix des Braves" in 2002. This agreement ratified the Eastmain-Rupert hydroelectric project and participated in redefining the relationship, now phrased in terms of partnership, between the Cree, the provincial government and Hydro-Quebec. Melanie Chaplier’s research expounded on the multiple aspects of this redefinition, focusing on the changes affecting Cree relationship with, and actions on the land, seen as the matrix of their identity. Her analysis focuses as much on the Cree involvement in resource exploitation as on the upkeeping of their animist ontology through their hunting practices. Doing so, she questions the global stakes (ontological, social, and economic) of Indigenous land claim agreements and their enforcement by describing the challenges, for First Nations, of their greater integration in the neoliberal governance model of contemporary Canada.

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo

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