Moving Forward while Looking Back: How Archaeological Organizations are Responding to Reconciliation

Saturday, May 5, 2018 - 9:10am to 11:10am
Ambassador D
  • Amber Zimmerman-Flett (President, Manitoba Archaeological Society)
  • Tomasin Playford (Executive Director, Saskatchewan Archaeological Society)

Today, most territories and provinces have some type of membership based organization that functions to further the discipline and bring people together with an interest (avocational and/or professional) in archaeology. These organizations have a long history in our country and sometimes played a pivotal role in the emergence of a "Canadian Archaeology". A reality is that most of Canadian Archaeology is based on the material cultural of Indigenous peoples, yet many organizations have not always included Indigenous voices and perspectives. This session is an exploration of how organizations like these are responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action, and provides a venue to discuss some of the current challenges and opportunities faced by these important but often under-funded organizations.

09:10 AM: Walking together: Finding new pathways for the Ontario Archaeological Society
  • Alicia Hawkins - Ontario Archaeological Society
  • Paul Racher - Ontario Archaeological Society

What roles do provincial archaeological societies have in reconciliation? As a relatively old society with a diverse membership base, the answer to this question may not be obvious for the Ontario Archaeoogical Society. Past President Paul Racher (2016-2017) rightly recognized that the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People have significant implications for the practice of archaeology. At our 2017 symposium, From Truth to Reconciliation, we explored, together with the participants from First Nations across Ontario the part that the OAS could play. We recently revised our constitution and statement of ethical principles so that they are in alignment with the TRC and UNDRIP. But what will this mean “on the ground”? In this paper we provide a summary of recent work and a discussion of projects that are under development.

09:30 AM: Backdirt and Bureaucracy Revisited: The APANB and Archaeological Practice in New Brunswick
  • Darcy J.  Dignam - Association of Professional Archaeologists of New Brunswick Ltd.
  • David W.  Black - Association of Professional Archaeologists of New Brunswick Ltd.
  • Trevor Dow - Association of Professional Archaeologists of New Brunswick Ltd.
  • Kenneth Holyoke - Association of Professional Archaeologists of New Brunswick Ltd.
  • M. Gabriel  Hrynick - Association of Professional Archaeologists of New Brunswick Ltd.

Historically, across Canada, the role of provincial governments in archaeology has been to regulate archaeological activities. Just over 40 years ago, upon the formation of the “Archaeology Branch” of the New Brunswick Historical Resources Administration, New Brunswick’s first provincial archaeologist, Christopher Turnbull, stated that “archaeology has entered, in a small way, the political arena” (Turnbull 1977:120), and these words now seem prescient in today’s pervasively political climate. Since the creation of the New Brunswick Clean Environment Act in 1987 and the subsequent creation of an archaeology industry pertaining to environmental impact assessment-related work (Cultural Resource Management), there has been a dramatic shift in the character of research conducted in archaeology. In a discipline now overwhelmingly populated by consulting archaeologists—an industry the New Brunswick government’s Archaeological Services Branch now both participates in and regulates—the impetus grew to develop an extra-governmental forum in which the professional archaeological community could discuss and assess issues in the practice of archaeology in New Brunswick. It was in this “spirit of brotherly watchfulness” (Turnbull 1977:119) that the Association of Professional Archaeologists of New Brunswick (APANB) was formed in 2013. In this presentation we provide a brief history of the APANB, summarize its objectives, and consider the challenges it faces—as well as the challenges similar Canadian organizations may face—in the current archaeological milieu.

09:50 AM: Archaeology from the other side: perspective from a municipal Archaeologist
  • Laureen Bryant - City of Calgary

In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, the Calgary Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee (CAUAC) provided Calgary City Council with the White Goose Flying report to identify which of the 94 Calls to Action are actionable by Calgary's municipal government.  Specific recommendations for archaeology and those sites on city owned land were highlighted.  Part of The City's response to the recommendations was the establishment of a 'City' Archaeologist position.  As that Archaeologist, within the Cultural Landscape portfolio (Calgary Parks), my role includes the identification, conservation, management, and celebration of the thousands of years of Indigenous occupation on the Calgary Landscape.  To facilitate this, increasing internal and external awareness is key for people to understand, value, acknowledge, and respect Indigenous archaeological sites.  This presentation will focus on why the role is valuable within the municipality, some of the opportunities and challenges I have observed, and will end with the summary of a recent decision by Alberta Culture and Tourism to preserve a portion of the St. Dunstan's Industrial school and what that means for the municipality. 

10:30 AM: Results from the Brazeau Archaeological Project - 2015 and 2016
  • Madeline Coleman - Tree Time Services Inc.
  • Amandah van Merlin - Royal Alberta Museum

The Archaeologcial Society of Alberta – Edmonton Centre has been conducting a public survey project at the Brazeau Reservoir, since in 2015.  We've had excellent turn-out and have helped push back our understanding of history in the Ice-free Corridor. The survey has resulted in the identification of 5 new archaeological sites around the reservoir, and finds that span from the time of the Ice Free Corridor to the Middle/Late Precontact transition.  Results of the 2015 and 2016 surveys have been analyzed together and are presented here, along with future directions.

10:50 AM: Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Management on Saba, Dutch Caribbean: Navigating Culture and Politics
  • Ryan Espersen - Saba Archaeological Center

The Saba Archaeological Center (SABARC) is a non-profit organization based upon the island of Saba, Dutch Caribbean, dedicated to preserving and promoting Saba's cultural heritage through archaeological research and outreach initiatives. SABARC actively seeks to involve local residents in areas of archaeological research. This provides hands-on exposure and experience in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, and allows them to participate in the discovery of their own history. SABARC staff also conduct Malta-compliant small scale archaeological mitigation projects when necessary, and has an MOU with the Island Government as the body responsible for curating the island's tangible cultural heritage.  On Saba, however, there is no legislation that effectively governs how cultural heritage is managed, or especially protected and mitigated in the face of development.  The status of Saba as a "public entity" of the Netherlands, together with Bonaire and St. Eustatius, is also ill defined legally, and the definition of their relationship to the Netherlands is still being debated in federal politics.  This creates a challenging work environment with a grey legal framework that requires public outreach to be at the fore of archaeological work and mitigation in order to maintain relevance to both the government and community.