The collections held by Sustainable Archaeology McMaster mean many things to many different people. A group of artifacts can tell a story about a way of life and affords insight into how people have lived and changed in the region over thousands of years. In the past (and unfortunately still sometimes today), descendant communities and First Nations have not always been adequately consulted regarding the treatment, care, and interpretation of Indigenous archaeological materials. As a result, these communities have been deprived of access to their cultural heritage, meaning that important parts of the stories surrounding artifacts are missing and the stories that are told are not always heard by those to whom they mean the most.
Many of the materials in the care of Sustainable Archaeology McMaster have suffered from this kind of dissociation as bits and pieces of their context have been lost or changed over the years. One such example is the material from the Sealey Site – a Neutral Iroquoian village site located near Six Nations which has been the subject of serious looting for over 100 years.
In March 2016, Emily Meikle (a Master of Museum Studies student from the University of Toronto) worked with Sustainable Archaeology McMaster and a panel of experts to create a radio program about the relationship between First Nations communities and archaeologists. Using the Sealey Site as a starting point for the discussion, the speakers address a range of subjects pertaining to issues of access, collaboration, and privilege within the realm of Indigenous archaeology.
To listen to the radio program, click the “play” button below.
Download Artifacts on Air.mp3
Access a Transcript of Artifacts on Air
LICENSING: Artifacts on Air by William Fox, Heather George, Richard Hill, Jessica Hinton, and Emily Meikle in collaboration with Sustainable Archaeology McMaster is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
William Fox has been involved in Ontario archaeology for over 50 years and participated in research throughout the northeast U.S., and in several European countries. He was employed by the Provincial government for 19 years as Regional Archaeologist of northwestern, north central, and then, southwestern Ontario; Senior Archaeologist for the province; and finally supervisor of the Development Plans Review Unit. In 1992, Bill was hired by Parks Canada as Chief of Archaeology for the Prairie and Northern Region. Today he continues his research as an Adjunct Professor in the Anthropology Graduate Program at Trent University, and is an instructor in the Anthropology Department.
Heather George is a Public Historian working in museums and heritage sites with a focus on community building, through oral history, education programing, exhibits and digital collection methods. She is a member of the board of trustees and the former Cultural Coordinator at Chiefswood National Historic Site and is currently exploring Indigenous methodologies at McMaster University.
Rick Hill is an artist, writer and curator who lives at the Six Nations Community of the Grand River Territory in Ontario, Canada. Rick has served as the Manager of the Indian Art Centre, Ottawa, Ontario; Director of the Indian Museum at the Institute of American Arts in Santa Fe, NM; Assistant Director for Public Programs at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution; Manager of the Haudenosaunee Resource Center; and Coordinator for the Joint Stewardship Board at Six Nations to develop an environmental interpretation centre and is the manager of the Six Nations Virtual Archives Project. He is currently serving as Senior Projects Coordinator at the Six Nations Polytechnic Deyohahá:ge (Indigenous Knowledge Center).
Jessica Hinton is Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) with family from Temagami First Nation. She graduated with an honours BA from Trent University in 2013, major in Archaeology and minor in Indigenous Studies. She will be finishing her MA in Cultural Anthropology this year, which focuses on archaeology’s portrayals of Indigenous people, and the importance of self-representation / determination here on Turtle Island.
Emily Meikle is a second year Master of Museum Studies student at the University of Toronto. She holds a BA in English Literature and Archaeology from McGill University. Her current research examines issues of access and collaboration in Indigenous archaeological collections in Ontario.