Statement of Principles for Ethical Conduct Pertaining to Aboriginal Peoples


The objectives of the Canadian Archaeological Association include the promotion, protection and conservation of the archaeological heritage of Canada, and the dissemination of archaeological knowledge.  Canadian archaeologists conduct their activities according to the principles of scholarly practice and recognize the interests of groups affected by their research.  Whereas the heritage of First Nations Peoples constitutes the greater part of the Canadian archaeological record, this document presents a Statement of Principles that guides members of the Association in their relationships with Aboriginal peoples.


Members of the CAA/ACA agree to abide by the following principles:

I Consultation:

  1. To recognize the cultural and spiritual links between Aboriginal peoples and the archaeological record.
  2. To acknowledge that Aboriginal people have a fundamental interest in the protection and management of the archaeological record, its interpretation and presentation.
  3. To recognize and respect the role of Aboriginal communities in matters relating to their heritage.
  4. To negotiate and respect protocols, developed in consultation with Aboriginal communities, relating to the conduct of archaeological activities dealing with Aboriginal culture.

II Aboriginal Involvement:

  1. To encourage partnerships with Aboriginal communities in archaeological research, management and education, based on respect and mutual sharing of knowledge and expertise.
  2. To support formal training programs in archaeology for Aboriginal people.
  3. To support the recruitment of Aboriginal people as professional archaeologists.

III Sacred Sites and Places:

  1. To recognize and respect the spiritual bond that exists between Aboriginal peoples and special places and features on the landscape.
  2. To acknowledge the cultural significance of human remains and associated objects to Aboriginal peoples.
  3. To respect protocols governing the investigation, removal, curation and reburial of human remains and associated objects.

IV Communication and Interpretation:

  1. To respect the cultural significance of oral history and traditional knowledge in the interpretation and presentation of the archaeological record of Aboriginal peoples.
  2. To communicate the results of archaeological investigations to Aboriginal communities in a timely and accessible manner.