Cultural Dimensions of Place

EPA Grant Number: U915794
Title: Cultural Dimensions of Place
Investigators: Martin, Kallen M.
Institution: Syracuse University
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: May 1, 2000 through May 1, 2003
Project Amount: $96,056
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2000) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Social Sciences , Environmental Justice


The objective of this research project is to describe and interpret the interaction of people and place, in particular the Mohawks of Akwesasne and the St. Lawrence River, to ascertain the everyday routines of life along the river and the symbolic representation of the river as an avenue for cultural maintenance.


This qualitative study is comprised of three primary components. The first will include flexibly structured interviews with members of the community who can recall fishing on the St. Lawrence River prior to the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway (circa 1954), and those who ceased fishing by the mid-1970s, as well as their adult family members. Such interviews would necessarily focus on everyday routines on the river, family life during the fishing seasons, communal harvesting, and the symbolic representations of the river reflecting spiritual or cultural manifestations of Mohawk traditions. The second component of the study will focus on the relationship between place and memory as a way of contextualizing cultural and social practices, and the importance of collective memory and oral traditions. Much of this component will be drawn from the interviews. The third component of the study will focus on the historiography of the St. Lawrence River to capture the Mohawk presence on the river and historical points of convergence, or differing cultural interpretations of the landscape, existing prior to and at the time of the Seaway's construction.

Expected Results:

Exploring the meaning of a threatened landscape—an altered, subjugated place—creates an opportunity to assess attachments and meaning to places as well as influences on a cultural epistemology intimately tied to the environment and land.

Supplemental Keywords:

Native Americans, Mohawk Indians, St. Lawrence River, culture, place, memory., RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, decision-making, Sociology, Social Science, Economics & Decision Making, Environmental History, Mohawks of Akwesasne, St. Lawrence River, place and memory, culture and social practices

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2000
  • 2001
  • Final