Research partnerships & indigennous peoples

The anthropology research team invites everybody to a lecture and discussion about research partnerships of indigenous peoples with scientists!

Monday, 22 August, 14:00
Thule meeting room, Arktikum building

The occasion is a visit by Jill Taylor-Hollings from the Department of Anthropology of the University of Alberta, who will give a talk on

Learning about the Ancient Ahneesheenahbeg: Archaeological and Ethnoarchaeological Research Partnerships Between Pikangikum First Nation, Woodland Caribou Provincial Park, and Archaeologists in the Boreal Forest of Northwestern Ontario, Canada


Recent collaborations between Pikangikum First Nation, Ontario Parks, and archaeologists (University of Alberta, Lakehead University) in Pikangikum’s Whitefeather Forest Planning Area and adjacent territory in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park have revealed more about the ancient past of this Subarctic area. Although the archaeological survey projects are among the first completed in this region of northwestern Ontario, they reveal evidence of precontact habitations over many millennia. Also, contemporary Indigenous perspectives of the land and its occupation provide rich contextual meaning to individual sites and the broader landscape. When Pikangikum First Nation community members lead the archaeologists to places used in living memory, evidence of much more ancient occupation is typically present. This demonstrates a continuity of Indigenous land use over many centuries. When archaeological evidence is combined with ethnohistoric information and Oral Tradition, more holistic interpretations of occupation and adaptation to changing circumstances is discernable. From an applied perspective, partners may utilize this information for land use planning, park management, site protection, ecotourism, and the Pimachiowin Aki World Heritage Project. Perhaps the most important aspect of these archaeological projects is the continuing relationships between collaborators: sharing knowledge and preserving ancient as well as recent cultural values for future generations.

One thought on “Research partnerships & indigennous peoples

  1. This was a very nice lecture with 15 people present in the audience! Thank you to Jill for introducing us to her field sites in Ontario.
    One thing that struck me was that the Ojibwe speakers up there have quite a say about what happens on their traditional land EVEN THOUGH legally speaking this is all crown-land, meaning Canadian federal property.
    For those of us working in Fennoscandia or the Russian North, it is encouraging that even where there is no official land title, people still find a way to negotiate the use of land with other interest groups, such as the extractive industry (mining etc), forestry and others.
    This means to my view that while laws are important, we do not always and exclusively have to focus our study on what rights people have, but also what they do in practice to get along with each other on the land. Our own research in Russia shows that too that these practical everyday use negotiations work sometimes quite differently from what is written in some law, and we have argued elsewhere that this is a good thing!
    Why? Because real lived experience of people on the ground is so incredibly diverse and an ever changing evolving process that no law can prescribe all possible situations and scenarios.
    As wtih so many things, the discussion following Jill’s talk showed how diverse approaches and cases are. In this case, joint work of archaeologists, administrators and indigenous peoples seems to work well not because of good laws, but good practice of people who have a real interest in getting this working to the benefit of all interested parties. In Jill’s case, the cooperation was initiated by a super-indendant from the park service, which is basically a representative of the authorities! So he approached archaeologists and people from the community to work together on the history of the land.
    If we want to make something happen, we have to find the right people to work with, which is at least equally important as knowing all the legal frames.
    Studying the lived experience of such a cooperation comparatively builds also easy bridges among cases in the circumpolar North – bridges that may seem insurmountable when looking at how different national legislations work.
    We wish Jill luck in finishing her phD and welcome her back in Finnish Lapland to report more about the results of her research

Comments are closed.