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Project Research Components

Vulnerability Assessment of Rural Communities
Analysis of Water Conflicts and Institutions
Historical Study of Institutional Adaptation
Analysis of Environmental Vulnerabilities
Assessment of Formal Institutions
Climate Change Scenarios
Geospatial Data
Unit 1C: The Historical Study of Institutional Adaptation

The main goal of this project is to assess past vulnerabilities of peoples and communities in the SSRB and the ERB and their respective adaptations to past periods of extreme water scarcity. Beyond providing a baseline for contemporary research and analysis, these studies should also highlight the experience and institutional capital that has accumulated over time in both the SSRB and the ERB in response to past crises and difficulties.

The project involves G. Marchildon—the coordinator for the sub-unit—with the support of Corkal, Kulshreshtha and Wheaton as advisors on the SSRB portion of study. A Chilean scholar and researcher, Prof. Hernan Cortes of the Universidad de La Serena, was identified in January 2005 as the key participant on the ERB portion of the study with Marchildon acting as an advisor. H. Cortes initiated the Chilean portion of the project in May 2005.

Based upon the Milestone Report, the following progress has been made:

  1. Gathering and organization of quantitative information-Canada and Chile: In Canada two comprehensive statistical compendiums, one on agriculture and drought and the other on economic and demographic information, have been completed by province (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba), annually from 1905 to the present (see Marchildon and Anderson, 2006). In Chile an overview of drought in the Coquimbo region during the 1870-1968 period is being completed

  2. Case studies of institutions-Canada and Chile: Several Canadian historical case studies have been completed in the project. A case study of the origins and impact of the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA) in response to the drought crisis of the 1930s has been carried out by G. Marchildon and a manuscript based on this study is in process of completion. In addition, a case study of Alberta’s early drought relocation efforts following the First World War and a case study of the Saskatchewan Relief Commission, 1931–1934 have also been carried out. These two studies have resulted in three articles: G. Marchildon, "The Great Divide," in G. Marchildon, ed., The Heavy Hand of History: Interpreting Saskatchewan's Past (Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center, 2005); G. Marchildon and D. Black, "Henry Black, the Conservative Party and the Politics of Relief," Saskatchewan History 4 (2006); and G. Marchildon, "Relocating farmers and reallocating land under the Special Areas Administration of Alberta," draft of paper to be submitted as an article to Prairie Forum in July 2006. This paper will be posted to the website later in 2006

  3. Other case studies: Another historical study is being carried out by G. Marchildon, S. Kulshreshtha, E. Wheaton and D. Sauchyn: “Drought, Demographic Migration and Institutional Adaptation in Alberta and Saskatchewan, 1919–1939." In addition, three climate and human adaptation working papers covering the pre-agricultural history of the SSRB were written by J. Daschuk and edited by G. Marchildon. Their titles are "Overview of Climate and Aboriginal Adaptation in the South Saskatchewan River Basin before the Settlement Period," "Climate and Aboriginal Adaptation in the South Saskatchewan River Basin, A.D. 800-1700," and "Climate and Aboriginal-Newcomer Adaptation in the South Saskatchewan River Basin, 1700-1800"

  4. Analysis of a conflict: A historical case study of conflict was carried out to support the work done in the project on conflicts. The paper, a historical chronology of the Oldman River dam conflict, was produced by J. Daschuk, with an introduction by G. Marchildon (see Daschuk and Marchildon, 2005d).

Proposals and Participants
• Original Proposal
• Research Team
• Advisory Board
• Partners
• Policy Relevant
• Reports
• Documents
• Theses
• Books & Special Publications

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