AECOM Canada Ltd. (AECOM) is honoured to conduct the geophysical investigation of multiple residential school unmarked grave locations within the George Gordon First Nation. We feel we have the right team and the technical expertise to help the community with this important assessment.
AECOM has a level of professional expertise unparalleled among our competitors. We have logistical capabilities that research universities do not. And AECOM offers a suite of services that can be tailored to your project by personnel dedicated to delivering technical excellence and adhering to cultural protocols.
We are pleased to submit the following proposal to provide geophysical survey and GIS mapping services, and if needed, submerged and terrestrial archaeological services to locate unidentified and unmarked burial locations at three or four potential cemetery locations and potentially two underwater mass grave areas associated with the George Gordon Residential Schools (Project).
For the Project, AECOM has identified Marcel Pelletier, Vice President for Indigenous Relations and Nyden IronNighttraveller, Indigenous Relations Specialist as team leaders. The team will be supported by Barker Fariss, PhD, Associate Vice President, Indigenous Relations; Adria Grant, Associate Vice President, Impact Assessment Permitting – Senior Archaeologist; Erik Phaneuf, Underwater Archaeologist; and, James L Jones Jr, Geophysical Technician, Dirt Divers Cultural Resources
Mr. Pelletier serves as Vice President Indigenous Relations with AECOM. Marcel has over 30 years of experience working with Indigenous people across Canada and the United States on a local, provincial/state and national scale. As an Indigenous person himself, Marcel is highly skilled at establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities through engagement activities and consultation for the development of business opportunities. Marcel has managed all aspects of project delivery as it pertains to Indigenous programming. He is an innovative professional with proven ability to identify needs, analyze existing issues, and develop initiatives consistent with tactical and strategic communication through negotiation, diplomacy, and capacity building. In his tenure with AECOM, Marcel has served various roles, including Project Manager, Superintendent, Quality Control Inspector, Material Coordinator and Document Control. Additionally, Marcel has been involved in Collective Bargaining Agreements, Industry Board of Directors, and served as Co-Chair of Owner/Worker/Health committees.
Mr. IronNighttraveller is an Indigenous Engagement Specialist who will be acting Deputy Project Manager. Nyden is a recent graduate who brings business acumen – specifically a fresh perspective on business practices that pertain to Indigenous Nations and peoples in Canada. Prior to joining AECOM, Nyden worked as a Journeyman Scaffolder in Alberta, leading crews, and projects in the Canadian oil sands. Additionally, Nyden has been a small business owner, and a mentor for Indigenous entrepreneurs in northern Saskatchewan.
Dr. Barker Fariss has over 20 years of relevant experience. In the United States, he has served as a tribal historic preservation officer (THPO); the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Coordinator and Tribal Liaison for a state university system; and Lead Archaeologist for the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) in Hawaii. He has overseen large-scale archaeological excavations and ethnographic studies; published NAGPRA Notices of Inventory Completion, completed summaries for thousands of objects of cultural patrimony, and coordinated repatriations and physical transfers of ancestors back to the appropriate tribes. Dr. Fariss has also conducted geophysical survey at burial mound sites and served as the primary point of contact for states and tribes in response to inadvertent discoveries and the identification of human skeletal remains. For AECOM, Dr. Fariss leads the Office of Native Sovereign and Tribal Relations (ONSTR).
Ms. Adria Grant has over 20 years of experience as a professional archaeologist and has worked closely with Indigenous communities and groups throughout Canada. Adria is an expert in Indigenous archaeological occupations and has experience in osteological analysis and identification. Adria has been involved in all aspects of grave identification and repatriation, specifically within archaeological site contexts, however the skills are directly transferable to residential school unmarked grave examinations.
Mr. Erik Phaneuf will serve as our technical expert in underwater archaeology. Mr. Phaneuf holds a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology and archaeology, as well as a Master’s specialized in underwater archaeology and naval architecture. He has been active in archaeology for more than 22 years with experience in historic and prehistoric, classical and urban archaeology as well as underwater archaeology in Quebec, France and Portugal.
Mr. James L. Jones Jr., assisted by Dr. Fariss, will serve as our technical expert in geophysical survey. Mr. Jones has been involved with cemetery protection and burial evaluation within the State of Minnesota for decades, specifically Precontact burial authentication and identification. Jim has intensive experience with Post-Contact Ojibwe burial identification and mapping efforts throughout Minnesota. He completed human osteology courses through Hamline University (St. Paul, Minnesota) during his time as the Cultural Resource Director at the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council. Mr. Jones has help to repatriate over 2000 ancestors back to Indigenous communities within the United States.
His team has Ground Penetrating Radar equipment to provide services to assist tribal communities in mapping and protecting their cemeteries. Mr. Jones has been on multiple projects where he has overseen GPR surveys for burial location and evaluation. Mr. Jones and his team are currently engaged in such work within the State of Michigan.