Supporting Well-Being in Indigenous Archaeology: Sharing and Implementing Indigenous Values and Practices

Session Hosting Format: 
in-person session
Jeudi, mai 2, 2024 - 10:20am - 11:40am
  • Jodi Howe, Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq
  • Michelle A. Lelièvre, William and Mary
  • Sara Beanlands, Boreas Heritage
Session Description (300 word max): 

The proposed session builds on the experiences of Indigenous archaeologists from across Canada shared during the “Supporting Well-Being in Indigenous Archaeology: Enacting Trauma-Informed Practices,” session held at the 2023 CAA's on the Membertou First Nation. In that session, we learned of the pain and trauma that many Indigenous archaeologists experience when archaeological practices ignore or dishonour their communities' values, including cultural and spiritual practices.

For the 2024 CAA's, we propose to take the next step toward supporting well-being in Indigenous archaeology by convening a roundtable of practitioners to share the practices they have enacted to respect Indigenous values, knowledge, practices, and interpretive frameworks. We seek contributions that describe the specific ways practitioners have incorporated local Indigenous worldviews, teachings, and experiences in the planning, fieldwork, analysis, and dissemination of results. We are also seeking contributions from archaeologists who have prioritized making their field sites, labs, and classrooms safe for members of marginalized and under-represented communities in a trauma-informed way.

We aim to foster a supportive environment that facilitates cross-cultural learning and training through dialogue around best practices and lessons learned between roundtable participants and CAA attendees. We hope the roundtable will result in recommendations to archaeologists—especially project directors and principal investigators—for how to enact culturally-sensitive and trauma-informed approaches to field- and lab-work, teaching, mentoring, and community collaborations.


10:20 AM - 10:40 AM: Reflections on a Decade of Practice in Indigenous Archaeology: In Decolonizing, Are We Simply Recolonizing?
Format de présentation : In-Person
Auteur-e(s) :
  • Lindsay Amundsen-Meyer - Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Calgary

In 2014, I successfully defended my dissertation titled “Nested Landscapes: Ecological and Spiritual Use of Plains Landscape During the Late Prehistoric Period”, my first attempt at applying a perspective grounded in Indigenous archaeology to the study of cultural landscapes. In this study and the years following, I firmly subscribed to the goal of braiding Indigenous and Western knowledge and using an approach based in two-eyed seeing as the way forward to decolonize the discipline. Since 2019, I have had the privilege of working with, for and on the Siksika First Nation and of learning from many Elders and Knowledge Keepers in the community. Reflecting on these experiences, I have begun to wonder if braiding knowledge to decolonize archaeology is simply another form of colonization. Here, I will pose questions and put forward suggestions for future collaborative work for myself and my colleagues to consider as we work to come to terms with the longstanding colonial history of our discipline.


10:40 AM - 11:00 AM: Practices and Principles for Supporting Indigenous Well-Being at the Institute of Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology
Format de présentation : In-Person
Auteur-e(s) :
  • Kisha Supernant - University of Alberta

While there are a growing number of Indigenous archaeologists, the discpline can be lonely, isolating, and hostile to Indigenous students, leading some to leave the field before their careers have fully begun. One important way to support Indigenous students is to foster a sense of community in their undergraduate and graduate programs. In this paper, I will share some of the ways we create and maintian our community of scholars at the Insititue of Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology, a group that includes both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and staff. I will discuss some of the pratical strategies we use both on campus and in the field, while also recognizing some of the challenges of the past few years in maintaining a strong sense of connection. 

11:00 AM - 11:20 AM: Developing Indigenous-informed Values, Ethics and Principles in Archaeology: Learnings from Applied Practice working for the Stó:lō
Format de présentation : In-Person
Auteur-e(s) :
  • David Schaepe - Sto:lo Research and Resource Management Centre

The field of anthropological archaeology is governed by ethics statements of many western-based Societies of professional practitioners (e.g., SAA, CAA, AAA).  These statements are intended to guide our practice as archaeologists.  I recount learnings from my experiences of applied practice in which it was necessary to explore, identify and apply Indigenous approaches to challenges linked to heritage stewardship, within the context of my work for the Stó:lō in southwestern British Columbia.  The necessary inclusion of Stó:lō values, principles, protocols, practices and worldview in many cases provided a necessary expansion of conventional ethical guidelines which failed to account for Stó:lō community-based needs when addressing the community’s heritage and considerations of well-being.

11:20 AM - 11:40 AM: Using Archaeology as a tool for Truth and Reconciliation as a nôsisim of Indian Residential School Survivors
Format de présentation : In-Person
Auteur-e(s) :
  • Honey Constant-Inglis - University of Saskatchewan

My Masters thesis titled, “Archaeological Interpretive Design for Wanuskewin Heritage Park From The Indigenous Perspective: ‘astam api: Stories of Indigenous Archaeology’”  is a personal telling of my experince working to reconcile Archaeology and Education. I explored my research question through the telling of my experience growing up as closeted-queer Indigenous person in Saskatchewan, and how this oppourtunity can contribute to a better learning environment for future Indigenous communities, especially regarding access to archaeological records. When completed, my thesis included a final interpretive product exploring the archaeological record of Wanuskewin Heritage Park, but also highlight the deeply rooted colonialism within Education and Archaeology. The success of my research comes from the implementation of my Indigenous worldview, emphasis on kinship ties with land and stories, and the power of visiting. In the end, archaeology with Indigenous ways of being can encourage all of us to be better relations moving forward.