The closure and waste management phases of a mine’s lifecycle have complex socio-economic and cultural impacts on local communities. Yet, the ongoing community care dimensions of these waste landscapes typically receive less attention than engineered containment solutions. Remediation projects have the potential to further entrench environmental injustices, land dispossession and colonial environmental management techniques under the guise of ‘re-greening’. In this sense, the remedial process of making contaminated landscapes ‘better’ results in the perpetuation of colonial extraction long after a mine has closed. Drawing inspiration from community interventions in mine remediation projects across Northern Canada, this research challenges normative definitions of remediation, explores anti-colonial remedial practices, and evaluates how environmental regulations address (or fail to address) the layered complexities of healing land. I have partnered with the Ross River Dena Council (RRDC), whose unceded territory has been drastically impacted by the now abandoned, lead-zinc Faro Mine. RRDC wants to ensure that the Faro Remediation Project brings safety and economic benefits to their community, but they are also focused on healing the legacies of the past, reclaiming dispossessed land and asserting self-determination for the future. With these community objectives in mind, interviews, archival analysis, literature reviews, and participatory action research are being used to stitch together multiple methods for community-centered remediation. Such methods are relevant to resisting colonial extractivism and providing a more robust understanding of how to ethically manage waste in order to develop better, albeit messy, mechanisms for living in/with post-industrial landscapes.
Abstract by Caitlynn Beckett, submitted to the 4S 2021 Panel Toxic Goodness: Harmful Legacies, Hopeful Futures
Caitlynn Beckett, "Caring For and Living With Extractive Legacies in Northern Canada", contributed by Duygu Kasdogan, STS Infrastructures, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 10 September 2021, accessed 20 September 2021.