President’s Message – Summer 2021

The past few months have been busy ones for the CAA. Our virtual conference was followed quickly by the news from Te’kemlups te Secwepemc First Nation of the identification of unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. The CAA rapidly created a Working Group on Unmarked Graves, which brings together archaeologists from across the country who have experience in remote sensing and in working with Indigenous communities to help them find their missing children. The working group, chaired by Kisha Supernant, is developing informational resources to help communities make informed decisions about whether and how they wish to proceed with investigations. The first of these are posted on our website, with more on the way. My thanks to everyone on the working group for their commitment to this difficult, but important work.

Read on for a long overdue update on other CAA activities. We are seeking volunteers to fill a number of important roles - see the bottom of this message for ways to become involved.

Conference. Our first ever virtual conference in May was a great success, with 132 presentations and 6 posters. A total of 474 people registered to attend. Many thanks to the entire organizing committee, and in particular our program co-chairs Trevor Orchard and Katherine Patton, and our conference intern Maryssa Barras who worked so hard to make it happen. We look forward to next year’s conference, when we can hopefully convene in-person in Edmonton.

Board of Directors. At our May AGM, Mike Deal finished his term as past-president, marking the end of five years of service on the Board. We’re grateful for his steady hand at the helm during that time, in particular his leadership in initiating a review of our Statements of Ethical Principles and updating the website. We are pleased to welcome new Board members Helen Kristmanson (President-Elect), and Maryssa Barras (Secretary). Thank-you to Joanne Braaten for continuing as Treasurer for another term.

AGM. Several important motions were passed at the May AGM. We approved the Anti-Harassment policy and its appendix, and amended the constitution to divide the Secretary-Treasurer role into two separate positions. We also approved a motion to eliminate the print version of the CJA and follow many other Canadian associations in making our journal digital-only, beginning in 2022. All members will pay the current Green membership fees going forward.

Awards. We celebrate this year’s award winners: David Meyer received the Pendergast award in recognition of his innovating contributions to the development of community-engaged archaeology in Canada, his leadership within the CAA and the Saskatchewan Archaeology Society, and his important work on central Canadian ceramics. He is a valued mentor to many. The Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Archaeology Office (Jamie Brake, John Erwin, Steve Hull and Delphina Mercer) won the Public Communications Award for their engaging blog and Facebook page.

Scholarships. Since our anti-racism statement in June last year, the CAA Board of Directors has continued to explore ways to make our organization anti-racist. At the conference, we announced the creation of two new scholarships, one for Indigenous students and one for students from groups that have been historically excluded from Canadian archaeology.

The Indigenous Issues committee is currently developing award principles and criteria for the first award. We are actively seeking members from racialized groups, the LGBTQIA2S+ community, and members with disabilities to help develop the terms for the second. We are counting on your support, which will be crucial in making these scholarships a reality. To date, we have raised over $14,500 towards our initial goal of $50,000 to create an endowment for these scholarships. You can donate online HERE.

Ethics Review Process. The Ethics Review Committee has made great progress on draft revisions to the CAA Statements of Ethical Principles. Watch for an opportunity to provide feedback on the suggested changes in the fall.

CJA. We are working towards having the journal indexed on Web of Science, to help increase its visibility, and bring CJA content to a larger audience.

Get involved! We are currently seeking an Indigenous archaeologist to join the Indigenous Issues committee. If you are interested, please contact the committee chair Paulette Steeves at:

We are also looking for volunteers to assist in developing the guidelines for the new Scholarship for students from historically excluded groups. We seek representation from racialized groups, members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community and people with disabilities. Please email me at if you would like to help.

Enjoy the remaining weeks of summer. It’s been a difficult 18 months for all of us and I hope everyone finds some time to rest and recharge while the weather is fine.

I’m only an email away if you ever have questions, concerns, or suggestions – please get in touch: