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Lightfoot 2007 - Collaboration otchoeology ond inclioos The...

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Unformatted text preview: Collaboration: otchoeology ond inclioos The ture of the Study of the Past KENT G. LIGHTFOOT THE WEND is STARTENG T0 BLOW. A group of Kashaya Porno elders and university students button up their jackets and huddle under brightly colored blankets on the spectacular Sonorna County coast in northern California. The noise is loud: the bowling Wind, tumultuous waves crash“ .. trig. below anthebasspf the. WC??? Q1.i.ff%...332€l§h¢. .. .. .. bellowing of the Steller and California sea lions perched on the nearby offshore rocks all con- tribute to the late afternoon concert. E can barely hear our group’s lively conversation. Crouching Closer, i listen intently as Violet @arrish Chappell and Vivian Wilder recount Kashaya stories and personal remembrances about the beauty, bounty, and power of the Pacific Ocean. They emphasize that by respecting the sea’s many moods and creatures, it can offer you an entire pantry of food and raw materials. This point is not lost on usmour research team has been working at a nearby archaeological site full of shellfish and fish remains Where the Kashaya people have been enjoying the generosity of the sea for many cen- turies I Our collaboration with members of the Kashaya Pomo tribe is part of a growing trend in archaeology. Across California and the rest of North America an increasing number of archae— ologists are working with Native peoples for legal, ethical, and common-sense reasons. Known as “indigenous archaeology” to some practitioners, i prefer to call this new development “collabora- rive archaeology,” a new inclusiveness in the practice of archaeology that incorporates people from many different backgrounds, homelands, and perspectives. i know some archaeologists will rankle at this label, wonderingif it might be time to push for my 'i'éiii'enieni {torn the field; They-Will tell you that archaeology has always been a collaborative effort. Well yes, we have a long history of work— ing quite nicely with other white guys trained in elite universities, but What I am talking about is something fundamentallj different. Collaborative archaeology does not just involve the participa~ tion of other white men and women in coopera- tive projects, nor is it a field that will be com- posed exclusively of indigenous people, but rather it is a rrtiXture of all and then some. The future of archaeology is the meeting of the minds of diverse people from different walks of life and cultural backgrounds who share a joint interest in the archaeology of a particular place. The plurality of this kind of archaeology is both its great strength and its formative chai» lenge. Research teams may be composed of tra~ ditionally trained elders from the reservation, tribal scholars educated at distant universities, young Native people raised oil the reservations in local cities and suburbs. and a hodgepodge of non—Indian archaeologists and other specialists i_\'“w,., .t orchoeology ond lodions from both near and far. This bubbling cauldron of people can he expected to entertain new ways of doing archaeology, whether it is experiment— ing with provocative theoretical approaches, wielding innovative methods in the field and lab» oratory, or contemplating unconventional per» spectives of the past. Clearly, this is an exciting time to be an archaeologist and to participate in a quiet revolution taking place in the field. The foundation of collaborative archaeology is partnering with tribes and other stakeholders in the study of the past and present people of a specific region or place. Most interactions today tend to revolve around archaeologists and the lndian ”monitors” who keep a wary eye on the "archies” to keep them from disturhing burials and Other sacred remains. But what I am talking about is a coordinated program that integrates tribal members in all aspects of archaeological research. This involves participating in decisions about the research questions that will he addressed and the kinds of field and laboratory methods that will be employed. It also involves taking a critical part in the fieldwork, making contributions to the interpretation of the results, and assisting in the coordination of public out- reach and education ioitiatives. A significant challenge remains to the develop— ment of collaborative archaeological programs: no clear road map exists for this kind of work. How do you set up such a program and make it work? How do you facilitate the constructive interactions of people who mayhold very difi‘erent views about the nature of the past, about archaeology, and even abOut the cosmology of the world? What hap- pens when divergent interpretations of the past are proposed that may appear to be mutually exclusive? Most of my experience in col- lahorative archaeology stems from working at the Fort Ross State Historic Park with members of the Kashaya Porno and with archaeologists and rangers from the California State Parks. Here we are investigating the colture history and cultural practices of the Kashaya Porno from ancient times to the present, and considering the long-term implica tions of their encounters with Russian merchants and American ranchers. The learning curve of the Gringo Kid from Santa Rosa has been long and slow; my education continues every time 1 go into the field and work with members of tribal communities. it was not until i joined the faculty at UC Berkeley and initi— ated a study of Russian colortialism in the North Pacific that E began to work closely with lndian people in the 19905. l have been blessed in work log with several mentors who have provided guid- ance and support over the years: David Fredrick- son from Soooma State University, Breclt Parkman from California State Parks, and Otis Parrish from the Kashaya Porno tribe. My experience suggests that three significaot factors should be taken into account when archaeologists partner with tribes. First, collabo- rative research needs to take place in a congenial and comfortable setting where constructive diaA logue can flow freely betWeen diverse partici- pants. I have found that archaeological field schools provide an excellent venue. A. staple in teaching students the method and theory of archaeology in university corricoloms, field WIM?E§ ”EBA iflnfi as orchoeology oocl lodlons pa w use-ass schools foster a learning environment that allows everyone to participate and contribute to the overall direction of the project. Furthermore, in establishing a field school camp, the various members of the research teanr atterrd'lectnres together, participate in workshops, learn about field and laboratory methods, dine together, cele- brate feasts and other Observances, and spend some down time relaxing and chatting. We are privileged to stay at the ‘Firchy Camp in the Fort Ross State Historic Park. Here tribal representatives can lead seminars on the culture history of their geople, preseiitirig lndian per- sgectives of the past based on oral traditions handed down over many generations. The}? can also teach about contemporary cultural practices 5: sltills. After being surrounded by piclty Berkeley students for many years, it was a true delight to work with cooks who had no word for “vege— tarian” in their vocabulary. We enjoyed the tasti— est of ribs, chops, and fried chicken, along with the more traditional Kashaya fare of acorn mesh, fried seaweed, fry bread, and succulent hackle berry pies. The creation of abalone dishes was a true collaborative effort: State ilarlc rangers obtained the abalone from nearby waters, Violet and Vivian fixed them in traditional Kashaya fashion, and then I hfilyfié eat thern. Great food is a real catalyst in archaeological programs. l could always tell when a special rneal was in the works by the number of Kashaya rela~ tives coming to camp from the nearby Stewarts “Nothing deflates morale and saps lively dialogue quicker than mediocre meals. We hired two celebrated. Kashaya elders, Violet Parrish Chappell and Vivian Wilder, as the field school chefs. l have never been better fed in my life” and beliefs of their tribes, thereby providing a ltind of sensitivity trairn'rig for both norbln‘dians and young Natives raised off the reservation. The field school offers an ideal situation to learn about archaeology. it is important to dis— cuss With everyone What archaeology can and can not tell you about the past. Like any other scientific field it has its strengths and weaknesses. in a field school setting, difiererit types of tech- niques can be observed firsthand and then evalu- ated by members of the research team for possi— ble incorporation into the project. New ways of viewing the past can he discussed and innovative interpretations about archaeological remains debated Within a truly collaborative framework. Second, good food is a necessity in any archaew ological project. Nothing deflates morale and saps lively dialogue quicker than mediocre meals. We hired two celebrated Kasbaya elders, Violet Parrish Chappell and Vivian Wilder, as the field school chefs. l have never been better fed in my life. Trained at an early age to cool; for large groups during feasts and ceremonies, Kashaya women are accomplished artists in their culinary :- “an” anslelr fiAzirhfilfisfi Point Rancheria. As word spread along the North Coast, archaeologists whom i had not seen or spoken to in- marry years began showing up in camp about dinnertime. Members of my owe Lightfoot clan began making it a point to drop by in the late afternoon to see how 1 was faring. i don’t think there is anything better in facilitating true collaboration than a good meal. Third, probably the most critical factor in developing a successful collaborative archaeology program is the formulation of a joint plan of action (research design) that explicitly outlines the objectives of the work and the strategies for implementing it. it is best to produce this plan as soon as possible. This written agreement should outline the research questions guiding the proj- ect, the field and laboratory strategies, and plans for publications and public outreach, and it should identify facilities for the curation of archaeological materials, 1 have found that the most useful research designs are structured into multiple stages so that the findings of the first stages of fieldwork are incorporated into the later ones. This fiamework allows members of f“? . a”? otcbooology ood lndions the research team to review the findings of each stage, and their feedback can then guide the design of subsequent stages. Our multistage approach is structured to begin with the least intrusive methods (such. as topographic mapping, geophysical survey, and intensive surface coliec» tion} anti then proceed to subsequent stages that incorporate increasingly intrusive and destructive techniques {subsurface test units and areal exca— vation). More on this in the spring issue of News from Native California. The research design should also clarify any restrictions in archaeological methods clue to their incompatibility with tribal cultural practices and spiritual Observances. lior example, some sacred places may be ofiulirnits to archaeological work, and special protocols may be enacted when human remains and specific kinds of sacred I observed the Kittie rule intimately when my wife, Roberta jewett, experienced her monthly period during one of our summer field schools. Roberta oversees much of the archaeological work, and her absence from the site was a signifi— cant adversity for as. i quickly discovered while a woman is in her Khela state and she can not pre~ pare food, cook, or wash in a communal kitchen for fear of touching food and dishes used by other people, it is up to her husband to prepare her food and wash her dishes separately Furtherm more, it became clear to me that some Kashaya women evaluate the worthiness of a roan based on his performance during this stressful period. i started out okay. When i returned from a day in the field, there was my little Roberta sitting apart from everyone, waiting to be fed and taken care of by her man. i managed to get her delectable This is an exciting time to be an archaeologist and to participate in a quiet revolution taking place in the field.” objects are unearthed. Collaborative research teams may also opt to follow traditional cultural rules and observations in working on archaeolog- ical remains within tribal territories, something we agreed to in partnering with the Kashaya Porno. The most challenging cultural rule that we follow concerns the observance of taboos sur- rounding Khelaemthe time when a woman experi- ences her menstrual period. Similar to many other California Indian groups, the Kashava Porno believe that a woman is unclean during her Khela period and shouid refrain from preparing or gathering food, from participating in ceremonial activities, and from visiting archaeological sites, since these places represent the abodes of ances— tral Kashava people and are thus vested with spiri- tual power. Consequently, a woman is forbidden to participate in fieldwork or even to visit archae- ological sites during her menstrual period. Since most of our students are young women, a dramas ic change from the earlier years of archaeology, observing this rule proved rather formidable until we worked out a rotation syStem that allowed students to work at non—Kashaya Porno sites or to participate in an off—site laboratory depending on their time of the month. pork chops cut, pour her some cold orange juice, and serve her an extra portion of acorn mush. But instead of washing her dishes separately, I forgot and took them into the communal kitchen where they were washed with everything else. When it was discovered what had happened, an emergency lockdown situation transpired in camp until her dishes were found and separated from the others. Needless to say the Kashaya eld- ers were not amused. The word on the North Coast is that Lightfoot has a long way to go before he makes the transformation into a real man. More on the adventures of collaborative archaeology in the next issue of News fiom Native California. a Kent Lightfoot has been teaching in the anthropology department at UC Berkeley since 198 7. He has partici- pated in archaeological projects in the American Southwest, New England, carom, Alaska, and Hawaii. Eric Wilder is the tribal chairman of the Karl/raw Band of Poms iodides at the Stewarts Point Rancheria. ...
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