Natasha Lyons and Andrew Martindale put together a terrific day filled to the gunwales with exciting presentations. I tweeted details of names and papers via from @AAPiccini #CAAWhistler #CAA2013. George Nicholas did a lovely job summing up quite a range of topics, modes and critical points of view. The important messages?

  • Things like starting with the communities’ guiding principles, customary law and traditional knowledges. Really, it’s up to communities to work out how and if archaeology is useful. Understanding Hul’qumi’num Heritage Laws might have something really interesting to contribute to the Productive Margins project I’m involved in.
  • Marina LaSalle’s call to archaeologists to recognise that they need to collaborate with one another and put down trowels and stop doing CRM and developer-funded archaeology, which in Canada is 97% of the archaeology that takes place – because ‘community’ is just a way for developers (housing/industry/forestry/resource extraction/energy) to get what they want.
  • That the UK’s approach to landscape characterization might have something to offer the Canadian scene, still limited by dots on the map, and boundary limits.
  • That BC’s heritage regulation that rules that anything indigenous but post-contact doesn’t equal archaeology. If it did, well, suddenly all those land claims and issues of treaty would need to be sorted out by the gov’t pretty quickly.
  • That we can’t resolve or fix what we mean by community, collaboration, etc, but that we need to be careful and specific when we invoke these terms and continually engage in process of definition.
  • That there are ways of localizing critical theory, but also ideas more associated with continental philosophy. Lyons’ work with people in the north valorizes their discourse as critical theory. Chris Arnett’s discussion of DemEEwuh, which is all that is of you and that you belong to, sounds like  habitus while the Maori phrase Ki Mua ki Muri, which suggests that the past is in front of you could be from Benjamin or Heidegger. So, not to subsume the local in the European traditions, but to recognise the critical-intellectual depth always-already circulating within communities.
  • That archaeology is this, and this, and this, and this – rather than anything settled. Whether Sto:lo or Maori whakapapa, it’s entangled and intractive. Yvonne Marshall: ‘If archaeology is to make difference, need to think difference that holds on to specificity of complexity and mess.’
  • That archaeology is not something that archaeologists ‘share’ with communities. Communities own their heritage and archaeologists have the privilege of being invited into that relationship.

Conference done! Thanks for all the ideas and food for thought.


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