This is my first message to all of you as CAA President and I want to begin by thanking Greg Hare, Ruth Gotthardt, Jeff Hunston, and the army of volunteers who organized a highly successful conference in Whitehorse in May 2016, packed with great papers, social events, and “Land of the Midnight Sun” hospitality. We gained a new Vice-President at this meeting. Congratulations to Jennifer Campbell who was elected to replace outgoing VP Adrian Burke. I would like to thank Adrian for his dedicated service as Vice-President. In May 2016, I took on the duties of President, replacing Lisa Rankin. Lisa will continue to serve on the Board of Directors as Past-President for the next year, sharing her much-valued institutional wisdom with me and the other Directors. We will need to elect another President in May 2017, so nominations are welcome.
The 50th annual CAA conference will be held in Ottawa-Gatineau (May 10-13, 2017), organized and hosted by the Canadian Museum of History (CMH). In addition to the usual paper presentations and banquet, the planning committee is organizing tours of the new exhibit at the CMH and Ottawa-region radiocarbon and conservation labs, in addition to an opening reception and pub event. A post-conference archaeological site tour is also being planned.
The CAA Board of Directors has identified some priorities for the next couple of years. First of all, we are financially sound thanks to Secretary-Treasurer Joanne Braaten who managed to complete audits from 2009 to 2015. The audits have allowed the CAA to apply for Charitable Status that will permit us to solicit donations from sponsors to help support our activities and conferences. Speaking of finances, the Canadian Journal of Archaeology, under the editorship of Gary Coupland, will be funded over the next year and a half by the CAA because we were unsuccessful in securing SSHRC funds in 2014 to cover printing and mailing costs. We will be applying in early summer 2017 for a three-year SSHRC grant to cover the costs of the CJA until 2020. The next issue of the CJA will be published by year’s end and we have some articles for upcoming issues. Article and book review submissions are always welcome, so please consult the CAA website for the new online procedure for sending manuscripts to the CJA editor.
Secondly, certain CAA committees have been busy. The Heritage and Legislation Policy Committee will be lobbying the Minister of Canadian Heritage to enact heritage legislation to protect archaeology on federal lands. The destructive effects of climate change on the archaeological record in the Far North could be somewhat mitigated if there was federal legislation and requisite funding made available to Indigenous communities to protect key sites. In an effort to press the Canadian government to draft and enact heritage legislation, we are inviting the Minister to the opening reception of the CAA conference and I plan to meet with her in the spring to discuss CAA concerns about the lack of federal heritage legislation. The Cultural Resource Management Committee has been revived and is working on strategies to encourage CRM archaeologists to join and become active in the CAA. Considering that over 95% of the archaeology in the country is CRM, the CAA needs to work harder at building and maintaining its CRM membership.
Lastly, some CAA members are preparing documentation to nominate several Indigenous archaeological heritage sites to the Tentative List for UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition, including Writing-on-Stone, Peace Point, Keatley Creek, Mt. Edziza Complex, and Cluny Fortified Village. If there are other candidate sites that you know of, please let the CAA Board of Directors know and we can advise you on the documentation process.
I urge all of you to renew your membership, contribute to the Newsletter (short articles) and CJA, serve on committees, and attend the annual conference. And please email me if you have any concerns that you feel should be addressed by the CAA. Remember that we are the voice of archaeology in Canada.