Jack Brink

Date award received: 

Citation for Jack Brink
Winner of the 2022 Smith-Wintemberg Award

Over his 40 year career with the Archaeological Survey of Alberta and as Curator of Archaeology at the Royal Alberta Museum, Jack Brink has had a huge impact on archaeology in Alberta and beyond.

As a researcher, Jack led a longstanding project at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump and made major contributions to our understanding of Indigenous rock art across Alberta, and worked closely with Niitsitapik and other First Nations. He was a pioneer in recognizing the importance of and making space for Indigenous perspectives in the study and interpretation of cultural sites.

Jack is a gifted and prolific communicator and educator. He has written extensively for both academic and public audiences and won several public communications awards for his book Imagining Head Smashed-In: Aboriginal Buffalo Hunting on the Northern Plains. He’s done extensive public outreach through radio, television and countless public lectures. For many, he has become the public face of Canadian Plains archaeology.

He’s also the driving force behind the interpretive programming at Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump, Áísínai'pi (Writing on Stone) and many other sites and he played a pivotal role in the designation of both Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump and Áísínai'pi as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Jack has also served as both Vice-President and President of the CAA, and as President of the Plains Anthropological Society.

Jack’s colleagues who wrote in support of the nomination speak of the joy he brings to his work, his incredible collegiality, tremendous sense of humour, and generosity in encouraging and supporting others. He’s an extraordinary relationship-builder, mentor, teacher and ambassador of archaeology whose career has helped bridge the divide between Indigenous people and archaeologists.

It’s my honour to present Jack Brink with the 2022 Smith-Wintemberg award.