How can Canadian archaeologists fight racism?

In recent weeks we have seen anti-racism protests across the US, Canada and around the world as people come together to condemn the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Regis Korchinski-Paquet and all victims of police brutality and racist violence.  The CAA stands in solidarity with all victims of systemic injustice and calls our members to action.

Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) in Canada know first-hand that racism exists here and is built into the foundations of the nation. All Canadians must acknowledge this uncomfortable truth and actively work to educate ourselves about past and ongoing injustices faced by BIPOC communities.

Archaeology as a discipline has been complicit in the settler colonial project and we must take responsibility for the history and present of our field. We must acknowledge that even while documenting the rich histories and accomplishments of BIPOC ancestors, archaeology has too often disenfranchised and perpetuated the marginalization of living BIPOC communities. Archaeological research has too often been co-opted to support racist ideologies. We must call out these injustices by speaking and writing about them and teaching this history and the ways it continues today.

Archaeology and archaeologists have the power to make change. Canadian archaeology can help to understand and illustrate the longstanding imbalances of power that contribute to ongoing inequities and underlie subtle and overt forms of racism in our society today. It can help to illustrate the rich diversity of past lives. Archaeology can be a powerful means to give voice to marginalized communities who are often poorly represented in written histories, particularly when community members contribute to archaeological interpretation.
Canadian archaeologists must reach out to support racialized people within our community and the communities we engage with. We must support the rights of BIPOC communities to self-determination with respect to their cultural heritage. We must listen to and cite BIPOC scholars who engage in research in our disciplines and beyond.

We call on all our members to listen, learn, and reflect on ways we may be complicit in the marginalization of others. We ask you to join us in speaking out against injustice.

To learn more about race, racism and protest in Anthropology, visit:

For guidance on talking about race with family, friends, students and colleagues, see:

Consider supporting one of the following organizations fighting racism in Canada:

We also ask your help in working for change within our own Association. The CAA is in the process of revising our ethical statements and developing a new strategic plan. Share your thoughts on how the CAA can foster real and meaningful change, reduce discrimination within our discipline, and build a more just, equitable, and inclusive archaeology in Canada. It will be difficult, and we know that it will take time and commitment. We are ready to invest both. We know that positive change can only be achieved by bringing together many diverse voices. We are listening.

CAA Board of Directors
Lisa Hodgetts – President
Sara Beanlands – Vice-President
Michael Deal – Past President
Joanne Braaten – Secretary-Treasurer
John Creese – CJA Editor