President’s Message Winter 2018

In anticipation of an early spring (this winter has been a cold and snowy one, at least in Ontario), I would like to update all of you on what has happened in Canadian archaeology and the CAA since the last time we all saw one another in Gatineau-Ottawa in May 2017. The 50th annual CAA conference in Gatineau was a resounding success thanks to the efforts of the organizing committee from the Canadian Museum of History, particularly Jean-Luc Pilon and Kerri Davis. The attendance set a new record. Coinciding with the conference, Mike Deal was elected as the next Director - President of the CAA and will begin his two-year term this coming May. I will stay on for a year as Director - Past President.

The 51st annual CAA conference “Where the Spirit Resides” is shaping up and will be held in Winnipeg (May 2–6, 2018). The organizing committee is being led by Amelia Fay and Kevin Brownlee, Museum of Manitoba. Registration is now open and, while the deadline has passed for submission of session abstracts, there is still time for online submission of abstracts for papers and posters. In addition to the usual research presentations and banquet, the conference organizing committee is planning several receptions, one at the Museum of Manitoba, and post-conference tours.

In addition to the annual conference, there are other newsworthy items. The Canadian Journal of Archaeology, currently edited by Gary Coupland, will be edited by Susan Blair beginning in June 2018. The high quality of the CJA is a credit to its top-notch editors. Gary (before he passes the editorial baton) and Sue will be putting an application together in early summer 2018 for a three-year SSHRC grant to cover the costs of the CJA until 2021. A special issue of the CJA will be published in June 2018 but we need articles for future issues. Article and book review submissions are always welcome, so please consult the CAA website for the new online procedure for sending manuscripts to the CJA editor.

The CAA Board and certain members have been active in addressing archaeological issues on the national level. One issue is a CAA response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action. The Board of Directors is working on a draft statement on the CAA commitment to implementing the principles of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the TRC Calls to Action. We plan to finalize the statement and will circulate it to the membership in advance of the annual general meeting at the conference.  Another item is the Tentative List for UNESCO World Heritage Sites, revealed in late December 2017. William Moss served on the Ministerial Advisory Committee as the sole archaeologist and CAA member. It is significant that the majority of the sites on the list (e.g., Wanuskewin, Qajartalik, Yukon Ice Patches) were recommended on the basis of archaeological and/or Indigenous significance. We hope that UNESCO will confer World Heritage Site status on some of these sites in the near future. The most recent and encouraging issue is private member’s Bill C-391 “Aboriginal Cultural Property Repatriation Act”, hopefully leading to national legislation to assist Indigenous communities with repatriation of cultural items and ancestral remains, particularly heritage that is in the possession of international museums. Despite these efforts to include Indigenous cultural property rights in Canadian law, there has been little movement by the Canadian government to develop national legislation to protect archaeological heritage. The CAA Board has decided to merge the Indigenous Affairs and Heritage and Legislation Policy committees in an effort to focus the CAA’s lobbying of the government on the need for national archaeological heritage legislation.

I urge all of you to renew your membership, contribute to the Newsletter and CJA, get involved in committee work, and attend the annual conference. And please email me if you have any concerns that you feel should be addressed by the CAA. See you in Winnipeg in May.

In friendship,
Gary Warrick