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Amelia Fay

Previous Education

  • BA, Anthropology, University of Manitoba, 2004

  • MA, Archaeology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 2008


Dr. Lisa Rankin


Arctic; culture contact; colonialism; gender; identity.

Research Statement

My PhD research has two primary objectives: 1) to examine the effects of colonialism on 18th century Inuit socio-economic relationships through the excavation of a dwelling on Black Island, Labrador; 2) to explore gender relations, in particular how the lives of Inuit women were affected by increased European interaction and the shift from a predominately subsistence-based to a mixed hunting/trading economy by comparing data from Black Island to similar data from contact period collections. My comparison data will include other sites that have been historically documented as having an influential presence during their occupation, such as a shaman or "big-man" trader, as well sites that have not been linked to a prominent historical figure that might represent a "typical" 18th century Inuit house.

The fieldwork component of this project focused on the excavation of an 18th century sod house on Black Island, Labrador. According to a 1776 Moravian census an Inuit woman named Mikak lived in this dwelling on Black Island. Her life story is significant as she was heavily involved in the coastal baleen trade network and very influential in the granting of British land to the Moravian missionaries who established their first mission in Nain in 1771. The unique historical and archaeological value of her home on Black Island make it the ideal location to evaluate the colonial effects on Inuit socio-economic and gender relationships during the 18th century.