Akikpautik in the Reconciliation of Worldviews about Archaeological Research

Conference Paper


This presentation provides a case study about Akikpautik, an ancient Indigenous sacred site, fishing and sugaring location on the Ottawa River at Chaudiére Falls. Nineteenth century development has left substantial industrial period archaeological remains on the cultural landscape here, proof of abrupt alteration of the former use of the land and water. The author, as historian and practitioner of Indigenous Archaeology (IA), is working extensively with revered spiritual leader, Dr. Elder William Commanda of Kitigan Zibi, a dynamic descendant of a long line of distinguished ancestors. In search of details about the history and context of Akikpautik, IA is useful. It recognizes both the strengths and limitations of conventional archaeological research, but is open to gleaning site documentary evidence from such sources as wampum, oral tradition, nuances of linguistics and the relationship between the land under study and traditional sacred ceremonies and gatherings. One result of using IA in researching Akikpautik may be growth toward a reconciliation of differing worldviews about the scope of Stage 1 archaeological research, the pre-excavation stage which treats detailed documentary research of the land.