Indigenous Archaeology as Decolonizing Practice

Indigenous Archaeology as Decolonizing Practice sonya atalay colonial history, western lens Archaeology includes the study of artifacts and other aspects of material culture but is more importantly about people--understanding people's daily lives, their sense of place in the world, the food they ate, their art, their spirituality, and their political and social organization. In piecing together multiple lines of evidence, including written documents, oral histories, analytical data from artifacts and ecofacts, and a range of regional and local environmental evidence, archaeologists attempt to write the stories of the past. Stated simply, archaeology is one of many tools utilized for understanding the past. However, when placed in its proper historical context, it is clear that the discipline of archaeology was built around and relies upon Western knowledge systems and methodologies, and its practice has a strongly colonial history.1 Many archaeologists have come to recognize that archaeology is based on, and generally reflects, the values of Western cultures.2 In privileging the material, scientific, observable world over the spiritual, experiential, and unquantifiable aspects of archaeological sites, ancient peoples, and artifacts, archaeological practice demonstrates that it is solidly grounded in Western ways of categorizing, knowing, and interpreting the world. However, as Indigenous and local groups around the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The American Indian Quarterly University of Nebraska Press

Indigenous Archaeology as Decolonizing Practice

The American Indian Quarterly, Volume 30 (3) – Jun 9, 2006

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 The University of Nebraska Press.
ISSN
1534-1828
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

sonya atalay colonial history, western lens Archaeology includes the study of artifacts and other aspects of material culture but is more importantly about people--understanding people's daily lives, their sense of place in the world, the food they ate, their art, their spirituality, and their political and social organization. In piecing together multiple lines of evidence, including written documents, oral histories, analytical data from artifacts and ecofacts, and a range of regional and local environmental evidence, archaeologists attempt to write the stories of the past. Stated simply, archaeology is one of many tools utilized for understanding the past. However, when placed in its proper historical context, it is clear that the discipline of archaeology was built around and relies upon Western knowledge systems and methodologies, and its practice has a strongly colonial history.1 Many archaeologists have come to recognize that archaeology is based on, and generally reflects, the values of Western cultures.2 In privileging the material, scientific, observable world over the spiritual, experiential, and unquantifiable aspects of archaeological sites, ancient peoples, and artifacts, archaeological practice demonstrates that it is solidly grounded in Western ways of categorizing, knowing, and interpreting the world. However, as Indigenous and local groups around the

Journal

The American Indian QuarterlyUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Jun 9, 2006

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