Indigenous archaeologies in Northeastern North America

Session Hosting Format: 
in-person session
Samedi, mai 4, 2024 - 10:20am - 12:00pm
  • Steven Dorland, Grand Valley State University
  • Sarah Hazell, University of Toronto Mississauga
Contact Email: 
Session Description (300 word max): 

Indigenous archaeologies has grown significantly, resulting in the development of new methodologies and frameworks that are grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing, doing and being. Through these ways, Indigenous voices, experiences and scholarship are centred to  provide fruitful avenues to decolonize the discipline. In this session, we present the diversity of Indigenous archaeologies taking place in Northeastern North America, emphasising the benefits of engaging in true partnerships and relationship building with Indigenous communities. As you will see in this session, there is not one way to engage in Indigenous archaeologies as each community is unique with their own needs, interests and goals, and each community partnership involves different groups of settler and Indigenous archaeologists. However, an overlying theme becomes apparent, an emphasis on relationship building that is centred on respect, reciprocity, trust, and gratitude. By effectively braiding Indigenous archaeologies in Northeastern North America, we contribute to decolonize and enhance archaeology in this region and elsewhere. 


10:20 AM - 10:40 AM: Fighting a Silent Battle: A multidisciplinary field school at Grand Valley State University that brings together Archaeology, Forestry, and Indigenous Knowledge
Format de présentation : In-Person
Auteur-e(s) :
  • Rob  Larson - Grand Valley State University
  • Steven Dorland - Grand Valley State University
  • Michelle Oberlin - Grand Valley State University
  • Alexandra  Locher - Grand Valley State University
  • Wesley  Jackson - Grand Valley State University


In this paper, we introduce the development of an archaeological field school at Grand Valley State University in West Michigan that focused on the impact of cultural activity on the modern landscape. Students engaged in a learning experience at the 19th century historic logging town of Blendon Landing to investigate a plurality of relationships to the landscape and how past processes, including past field schools, changed the landscape. Through our approach, students were introduced to Etuaptmumk, or Two-Eyed Seeing. Etuaptmumk is a Mi’kmaq concept that brings Indigenous and Western Science together to address a particular problem. This approach allowed students to reflect about their relationship to the field site and their impact on the environment. By partnering with faculty in the department of Biology, one of which being a Knowledge Keeper and citizen of Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, students gained the opportunity to learn how past cultural practices led to a silent battle between invasive and native plant species. In this paper, we present student and faculty perspectives on the opportunities and challenges associated with braiding archaeological fieldwork, biological methods of data recording, and Indigenous ways of knowing and doing to answer a similar set of questions. 


10:40 AM - 11:00 AM: “We are just providing an opportunity”: Reflections on the third year of the Learning About Learning archaeology camp. 
Format de présentation : In-Person
Auteur-e(s) :
  • Steven Dorland - Grand Valley State University
  • Jordan  Jamieson - Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation
  • Lindi Masur - McMaster University
  • Veronica King-Jamieson - Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation

In this paper, we reflect on our third year of the Learning About Learning archaeology camp for Mississauga Nation youth, hosted by Mississaugas of Credit First Nation and in partnership with university institutions in Canada and the United States. This community-based archaeology research program began in 2019 and each year, we have navigated yearly challenges as we have transitioned from online formats as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, to in person camps. We consider the challenges in the development of meaningful relationships, the determination and articulation of shared goals and community objectives, and the delivering of inspiring and inclusive programming. When creating a community-based archaeology project, and developing this into a long term research program, there are many challenges faced. Here we explore our path in unlearning ways of thinking rooted in Western institutional procedure. Rather than an overemphasis on logistics and concrete, scaffolded learning plans, the reorientation of our camp to centre on Councilor King-Jamieson’s words, “We are just providing an opportunity,” has been the backbone of camp success. Herein, we consider the camp and our research partnership as an iterative process and the importance of decentering academic voices to provide truly collaborative community partnerships.


11:00 AM - 11:20 AM: Nisdotang gaa-bi-zhiwebag wii-ni-mno-bmaadzing: Indigenous-led archaeology in Northeastern Ontario
Format de présentation : Online - pre-recorded
Auteur-e(s) :
  • Jake  Cousineau - Mississauga First Nation
  • Brent  Niganobe - Mississauga First Nation

Mississauga First Nation (MFN) is located on the North Shores of Lake Huron between the mouth of the Mississaugi River and the Blind River. This area has been the home to the Mississauga people since time immemorial. Unfortunately, the North Shore of Lake Huron has long been underrepresented in Ontario archaeological research and discourse, creating a cultural-heritage data vacuum where information is sparse, unpublished, outdated and has little to no meaningful interpretation. This lack of publication and the current Ontario Standards & Guidelines created a self-perpetuating cycle where archaeology is overlooked and undervalued by the public and approval authorities. Within the last year, MFN has made advancements in developing its ability to conduct archaeological research on its own terms to protect its ancestral remains, confirm traditional knowledge, and engage its community in learning about their history. This has resulted in MFN protecting known archaeological and traditional sites, negotiating artifact repatriation, documenting new sites, advocating for archaeological assessments, and learning more about their past. Through this work, MFN will break the self-perpetuating cycle, demonstrating the significance of their ancestral legacy in Northern Ontario through traditional knowledge and archaeology

11:20 AM - 11:40 AM: Pathways to Reclamation: The La Cloche Cataloguing, Learning, and Sharing Project
Format de présentation : In-Person
Auteur-e(s) :
  • Alicia Hawkins - University of Toronto Mississauga
  • Sarah Hazell - University of Toronto
  • Naomi Recollet - Ojibwe Cultural Foundation
  • Allen Toulouse - Sagamok Anishnawbek
  • Alyson Summers - University of Toronto

Fort La Cloche, on the north shore of Lake Huron, was the site of archaeological excavations from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. Collections from government of Ontario excavations are now housed at the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation (OCF) on Manitoulin Island, an Indigenous cultural center. However, lacking reports and a comprehensive catalogue, the OCF and Sagamok Anishnawbek, on whose territory the site lies, find that it is hard to make decisions about the future of these ancestral belongings. In this collaborative and community-based project, members of Sagamok and First Nations from Manitoulin Island and archaeologists from University of Toronto are working together to learn about what is held in this large collection and about what can be learned from these ancestral belongings. This process will provide information to SA and the OCF as they consider the best way to care for these belongings in the future. The work is guided by elders and incorporates language learning and cultural teachings.

11:40 AM - 12:00 PM: Just a Nibble: A Brief Analysis of the Faunal Material from the 1969 Excavation of Fort La Cloche
Format de présentation : Online - pre-recorded
Auteur-e(s) :
  • Alyson Summers - University of Toronto

La Cloche is a region in southern Ontario, on the northern shore of Lake Huron, which was occupied by a Hudson’s Bay Company post, Fort La Cloche, from around 1820-1890. Local Anishinaabe people, particularly the Sagamok Anishnawbek, have recognized this region as their home since time immemorial. Material excavated at La Cloche between 1968-1983 is currently being stored at the Ojibway Cultural Foundation (OCF), where members of the OCF, archaeologists from the University of Toronto, and Anishinaabe community members have been cataloguing and identifying the material. With the permission of the OCF and local Anishinaabe elders, I borrowed a portion of the faunal material from the La Cloche excavations for 4 months for cataloguing and analysis. The faunal material identified is from the 1969 excavations at Fort La Cloche. Contrasting with earlier French Northwest Company forts, the occupants of Fort La Cloche predominately subsisted on domesticated species rather than wild species of Cervids and may have been supplementing their diets with imported barreled pork. A variety of fish and bird species, particularly ducks also contributed to the diet. Additionally, rabbits were likely an important economic fur-trade species at this site. This work incorporates indigenous voices and histories with historic reports.