Over the past decade, Canadian archaeologists have become increasingly aware of their ethical responsibilities and the impact that their work has had on society at large. Most professional archaeologists would acknowledge that the protection and conservation of the archaeological record is one of their primary responsibilities and a central precept of archaeological ethics. Although this concern is central to the practice of archaeology today, it is by no means the only major ethical responsibility. We must also recognize and respect the inherent rights and interests of ethnic groups in any archaeological investigations of their past. The Canadian Archaeological Association, and its constituent members, must take appropriate measures to ensure that this issue is addressed in a responsible manner.

This document summarizes the results of our Association's first formal step toward the development of accountable working relationships with the Aboriginal people of Canada, and presents a Statement of Principles for Ethical Conduct Pertaining to Aboriginal Peoples for ratification. It is important that the membership carefully review this document to fully understand the context in which the statement was developed. It should be clear that the process to date, and the statement generated, marks only the beginning, rather than the end, of a process of reconciling differences between the archaeological profession and the First Peoples of Canada.

I hope that you will recognize the significance of this document, and the process that it represents, to the future practice of archaeology in Canada.


The Committee would like to extend its appreciation to the following individuals who were especially instrumental in the successful completion of this process:

David Meyer, former President of the Canadian Archaeological Association, for his help in initiating this process; Elizabeth Snow, formerly with the Department of Canadian Heritage, for her untiring efforts in supporting this initiative; Bjorn Simonsen, Executive Secretary of the Association, for his outstanding effort in administering the grant and assisting in innumerable aspects of the process; Paul Antone, formerly with the Department of Canadian Heritage, now with the Federal Archaeology Office, Parks Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage for his support and advice and for expediting the grant funds; Eva MacDonald, Archaeological Services Inc., for her substantial effort in helping to compile this document; and to all individuals and organizations, both locally and at the national level, who took the time and effort to participate in the process and provide the committee with the benefits of their insight and experience.