SGS Celebrates Graduate Student Winners of Federal Tri-Council Awards – Nicole Hughes

Author: Andrea

Posted on Dec 1, 2021

Category: Student Stories , Money Matters

Profile of Nicole Hughes

Award Received: Canada Graduate Scholarship, Doctorate (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council)

Awarded for the project: Lineages of Louisbourg: an exploration of mitochondrial DNA analysis to investigate the ancestral diversity at the 18th century Fortress of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia

Department: Interdisciplinary Studies

Project supervised by: Amy Scott, PhD

My research will explore the ancestral diversity of those living at the Fortress of Louisbourg in Cape Breton, Canada to better understand the social and cultural complexity of this 18th century colonial site beyond historical records, which were heavily influenced by French and English narratives. Specifically, I will use ancient DNA sequencing to unravel the genetic ancestry of the archaeological human skeletal remains excavated at the Fortress and compare these findings with other lines of evidence (i.e., historical records, burial goods, stable isotope analysis) to interpret the relationships between different ancestral groups.

This research is significant because it will be the first to identify genetic ancestral groups within an Atlantic Canadian archaeological population. Also, the colonial records from this period have largely underrepresented the diverse, non–European population at Louisbourg, obscuring our understanding of these minority individuals and their important contribution to the Louisbourg community. Broadly, this project will highlight the heterogeneous nature of colonial Canada, leading to a better understanding of the diverse lived experiences and unique narratives of these historically underrepresented groups.