President’s Message – Fall 2020

When I last wrote, Canada was beginning to emerge from lockdown and we were heading into an uncertain summer. That uncertainty is still with us as we now watch the COVID-19 case counts climb rapidly in many parts of Canada. Many of us continue to experience major disruptions in our professional and personal lives. As an association, we are mindful of these demands and recognize that under the circumstances many of our volunteers have little time to devote to CAA activities. The Board of Directors has therefore decided to pause our strategic planning efforts and focus on a few key priorities over the winter, as outlined below.

Scholarships. Since our anti-racism statement in June, the CAA Board of Directors has continued to explore ways to make our organization anti-racist. We recognize the extreme lack of diversity among archaeological practitioners in Canada. The CAA Board considers increasing diversity within our ranks a priority national issue, one that requires concrete action, organization, and leadership. Archaeology is enriched when it is practiced by people from varied backgrounds, representing a wide range of perspectives and knowledge bases.

As a first step, however small, toward increasing diversity in Canadian archaeology, the CAA is initiating two scholarships, one for Indigenous students and one for students from groups that are under-represented in Canadian archaeology. We will develop award principles and criteria collaboratively with communities, in order to identify and begin to dismantle existing barriers. We are counting on your support, which will be crucial in making these scholarships a reality. At the request of the CAA Student Committee, we will use the Student Travel funds set aside for last year’s (postponed) conference to inaugurate the scholarships. We will continue to share details of this initiative and encourage feedback and discussion from our members about how to support and enhance diversity in Canadian archaeology.

2021 Virtual Conference. Because we prioritize the health of our members and our communities, the Edmonton conference organizing committee and the CAA Board of Directors have unanimously agreed to postpone the Edmonton conference for another year. We are grateful to our Edmonton hosts for their work and their flexibility, and to the Membertou and Saskatoon organizing committees who have also agreed to postpone again. We have three wonderful conferences to look forward to once it is safe to travel and gather again: Edmonton 2022, Membertou 2023 and Saskatoon 2024.

The CAA will host our first ever virtual conference in May of 2021. We welcome your suggestions in terms of format. We are also looking for someone to chair the conference organizing committee and volunteers to serve on it. Please contact me if you’re interested:

Committees. The student committee is planning a series of events for students through the winter. Watch the CAA Facebook and Twitter accounts for details. The Member Safety Committee has developed a new Anti-Harassment Policy. We will be circulating a draft in January for your feedback. The Ethics Review Committee continues its work to update our principles of ethical conduct. Keep an eye out for a survey in March, which will solicit your input to guide the revisions.

Membership Renewal. To begin to track temporal trends in member demographics and determine how we can better serve our members, the Equity and Diversity Working Group and the Membership Committee have created an optional anonymous survey that we invite all members to complete as part of the membership renewal process. Watch for your renewal reminder in December.

Canadian Journal of Archaeology. We are exploring several different options to put the CJA on a more sustainable financial footing, including eliminating the print version of the journal. You will receive a survey about the journal later this month. Please take a moment to respond. We need your input to help us determine the best way forward.

Call for Nominations to the Board of Directors. At the next AGM in May, Mike Deal’s term as past-president will come to an end. We need to elect a new president, who will begin their term as president-elect at that time.

The Board of Directors has decided to split the Secretary-Treasurer role into two positions. Joanne Braaten, our current Secretary-Treasurer, will serve another 2-year term as Treasurer, leaving the Secretary position vacant, so we must also elect a Secretary for a 4-year term.
If you would like to nominate someone (including yourself) for President or Secretary, or find out more about either role, please get in touch:

Call for Award Nominations. We invite nominations for the 2021 CAA awards. All submissions from 2020 will be automatically entered into the 2021 competition. You can find award criteria and instructions on how to submit a nomination here: We will announce the award winners at the 2021 virtual conference and celebrate the awards in Edmonton in 2022.

Submission deadlines are as follows:

  • Feb 15, 2021: Smith Wintemberg Award
  • March 15, 2021: Margaret and James F. Pendergast Award, Public Communications Award, Roscoe Wilmeth Award for Service
  • June 15, 2021: Daniel Weetaluktuk Awards – for Undergraduate Student paper and Graduate Student Research paper

In memoriam. We lost a well-known Alberta archaeologist in July. John H. Brumley completed his BA and MA at the University of Calgary. He was instrumental in forming the Southeastern Alberta Archaeology Society in Medicine Hat and in 1994 he received a Distinguished Service Award from the Alberta Archaeology Society. He was also very active and well-respected in the Montana archaeology community. He will be missed.

Watch for our surveys over the next few months. The CAA is your organization. Help shape its future with your response.

Take care this winter. We hope to see you online in the spring. I’m only an email away if you ever have questions, concerns, or suggestions: