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Unformatted text preview: In The, Hull/we 0? “UM. -‘ ArWe‘JaM‘lU, Mnfiug W: i: and WWW-HM- E'L‘Llwi ‘07 'f-L. Grail - (a..er Pubtrswwg The Future of the Past New tic?!“- (‘99‘7 (’19- Me [84. 168 Smytiie, Charies. 1998. "Wounded Knee Memorandum.” Report on file. Repatriation Office, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian institution, Washington D. C. Speaker, 1. Stuart. 1993. "inventory and Assessment of the Apache i-iumari Remains in the National Museum of Natural History.” Report on file, Repatriation Office of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Svaldi, D. 1989. Sand Creek and the Rhetoric of Extermination: A Case Study in l'ndienuWhitc Relations. Lanham, Maryland: University i’ress of America. Swidler, N, K. Dongoske, R. Anyon, and A. Downer. 1997. Native Anim‘cans amt Archaeologists: Stepping Stones to Common Ground. Walnut Creek, California: Altamira f’ress. Thornton, Russell. 1987. American inde Holocaust and Survival: A Population History Since 1492. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. Trigger, Bruce. 1989. A History ofArchncologiml Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ubetaker, Douglas ti. and Lauryn (3. Grant. 1989. "Human skeletal remains: Preservation or roboriai?" Yearbook of Physical Anthropology 32249487. US. Court for the District of Hawaii. 1996. In the United States Court for the District of Hawaii. Order Granting Federal Defendants Motions for Summary Endgament. Ne lief O Na Kupmm O Mopzrlor, Heleloa, Ulirpa‘u A Me Kuwa‘a‘ohe by and through their Guardians , Hui Militile fNa Kapmte 0 Hawaii Net vs. [elm Dalton, Secretary of the Navy anti the Bernice Panel-ii Bishop Museum. Civil No. 94-00465 DAE. US. Court for the District of Oregon. i996. in the United States Court for the {District of Oregon. Compiaint for ludiciai Review. R. Bormtchserz, C. Luring Brace, GW. Will, C. Vance Haynes, In, R1... lentz, DW. Owslcy, D. Stanford and D. G. Stette vs. the United States Department oflhe Army, Corps of Engineers, E. l. Havel, and Curtis L. "firmer. Civii No. 964481 TE? US. Court for the District of Rhode island. i996. in the United States Court for the District of Rhode Island. City of Providence vs. Bruce Rabbit, Secretary for the United States Department of the interior; Hui Melanie l Na Kupuna Hawaii Nei, and the State of Hawaii Oflice of Hawaiian Affairs. CA ‘96-668. Watkins, E., L. Goldstein, K. Vitelli, and L. Jenkins. 1995. "Accountabiiity: Responsibilities of archaeologists and other interest groups.” in Ethics in American Archaeology: Challenges for the 19902:, edited by M. hynott and A. Wyiie, pp. 33—37. Special I’uhiication of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, D. C. CHAPTER TWELVE Usurping Native American Voice LARRY ]. ZIMMERMAN Scientific coloniaiism is defined as the process whereby the center of gravity for acquisition of knowledge about a people is located elsewhere than with the people themselves (Hymes l974:49). According to Galtung (1967), scientific colo- niaiism includes claiming the right of access to unlimited data from other coun- tries. it entails exporting data from the country of origin to one's owa country for "processing" into books and articles. The most important, most creative, most entrepreneuriai, most rewarding and most difficoil aspects of “creating” knowl- edge take place away from the source of information. Reflecting upon recent critiques of American archeology (cg. McGuire 1992, 1997), it is difficult to see the historical relationship between archaeologists and Native Americans as anything but scientific colonialism. Certainiy archaeology/’5 ciaim that a Native past is a public heritage is similar to a claim to rights of unlim— ited aCCESS to data from another country. But do archaeologists export the data and move the creative processes and their results away from Native American nations? The answer is unequivocally yes. American archaeology is an edifice of Scientific colonialism, and this has crippled its relationships with Native Ameri— cans. The crucible of the repatriation and reborial issues has made it painfuliy clear that archaeological interactions with Indians otten have been inept and tor— turous. Many Native Americans go so far as to call archaeology irrelevant or inac— curate. One reason for archaeology’s iack of effective response to Native concerns is that archaeology has not been ready epistemologicain to understand and address what might be called "Native American voice." In fact, Native American voice provides an epistemological foundation for American archaeology. Indeed, on one level, it provides the authority from which archaeoiogists speak and write about the past. In usurping Native American voice, many archaeological practi~ : tioners go so far as to claim that they "speak" for the people of the past and are the only ones truly capable of doing so. Native people chalienge the legitimacy of archaeoiogical use of Native Amer- ican vonce and thereby challenge the very authority of archaeological knowledge 169 at 170 The Future of the Past about the past. This paper examines the notion of Native American voice, how archaeologists come to know and use it, and why this has exaggerated already difficult relationships. I suggest that an ethnocritical approach to the past may be useful in alleviating the problem, but that it will profoundly change archaeologi- cal epistemology. Ei’lSTEMOLOGlCAL READINESS AND DIFFERENT WAYS OF KNOWING THE PAST Epistemology is the study of the nature and grounds of knowledge with reference to its limits and validity, or as defined by Watson, LeBlanc and Redman (397}:3}: ". . . how we know and how we know we know.” The key elements of episte- mology include: knowledge of the world and limits to it; defining and under- standing “truth,” and methods of explaining “reality”. Within academic disci— plines epistemological issues, although sometimes debated, are relatively stable, allowing scholars to function in their exploratory, analytical, and explanatory capacities. But the very definition of epistemology implies that there are limits or boundaries to knowledge. When confronted by ways of knowing or apparent "truths" that are beyond these boundaries, archaeologists must reject them until such a time, if ever, that the discipline's epistemology can be shifted to incorpow rate them. Native American peoples have confronted archaeology with different ways of knowing the past, and archaeology has had profound difficulty incorporating these approaches into its epistemology (see, for example, Clark 1996 and Mason 1997). Comparing archaeological and Native American views about the past is instructive. Aacuaeoroorcar ViEWS or Past“ Archaeological time is fundamentally a Euroamerican, literalist approach that may be described as rationalist and empiricist (Littlejohn 1983). Crucial to this view are archaeological divisions of time into a past, a present, and a future. Leone (193’8128) suggests that the construction of time apart from the present moment stems from the construction of a dual world. This duality consists of the present, which is direct and immediate, and of another realm that is not, but is well articulated and distinct from the herewand—now. This “iioepresent” is seg— mented into a past and future. Processual archaeology, in particular, placed an emphasis on discovering an eternal reality with a goal of making law-like state ments about reality that transcend all time, events, and cuitures; in other words, it seeks to be ahistorical. in an odd way, this is not so very dissimilar from a Native view that is ahistorical, accepting natural, God-given law {Zimmerman 3989:65). However, for archaeology this goal is pursued by analyzing components of a phenomenon or event and seeking causal, mechanistic explanations for observed relationships between them. The act of seeking causes means that some conditionls) must exist before some other event can happen. this results in the past, present, and future being segmented into linear time. “mm”. ..H Usurping Native American Voice 171 For archaeologists, the present is the least significant of the three temporal realms. They assume they "know" the present by virtue of the fact that it is lived experience, and because it is only momentary, it is merely a link between past and future. Thus, past and future are valued more than the present as is amply demonstrated, for example, in the Society for American Archaeology’s anti—loot— ing campaign slogan "Save the past for the future.” Some might point out that archaeologists consider the concept of "ethnd graphic present," but that notion also emphasizes the importance of the past over the present. Sometimes defined as the moment at which a group was first stud» ied, archaeologists use the ethnographic present as a baseline, a moment frozen in time. Subsequent culture change is seen as the result of “contamination” by outsiders and excluded from consideration. Such an understanding of the ethno- graphic present has the effect of locking Native culture into the past and may even subtly push archaeologists toward an acceptance of the usually mistaken idea that the cultures they study are extinct (see Meighan quote below} rather than as cultures that adapted and survived. Much the same critique applies to ethnoarchaeology. Often associated with the origins of New Archaeology (of. Anderson 1969; Binford 1962, i967), ethnoar— chaeology focuses on the context of material practices of contemporary cultural groups who are seen as analogues of prehistoric groups for the purpose of ascer- taining what happened in the past. Modern cultural practices are of incidental interest. The focus is on the past, and the aim is to develop general statements about human behavior that transcend time and individual cultures. in point of fact, the archaeological uses of ethnoarchaeology have been limited primarilv to contemporary hunting and gathering groups like the lKung (Yellen l977l or Nunamiut (Binford 2981) and rarely applied to others. For archaeologists, the future is unknown and yet to be formed, though it is thought the past can influence the future in some unspecified way if it can be mediated properly through the present. This idea is summarized in the aphorism: ‘ "Those who are ignorant of the past are bound to repeat it.” The past, on the other hand, can be known because it has already happened. To know the past, howeva er, requires it to be discovered or modeled, largely through written sources and archaeological exploration and interpretation. From the past, one may learn or discern what actions should be taken in the present to obtain the desired effects in the future. What happened in the past is interpreted through the hindsight of the present and becomes an “artifact of the present” {Lowenthal 29852xvi). When archaeologists write the past, it becomes "a fixed, unalterable, indelibly recorded" entity unto itself. ‘ Archaeologists know of no other way to write this past than through excavat- ing, analyzing, temporally ordering objects or events, and interpreting meaning from them. This view is typified by Meighan (1985:20): ' The archaeologist is defining the culture of an extinct group and in presenting his research he is writing a chapter of human history that cannot be written except from archaeologicai investigation. If archaeology is not done, the ancient people remain Without a history and without a record of their existence. 172 The Future of the Past in this common archaeological view of time and the past, past and present are related in a linear §ashion, with historical retrospection and “periods,” “phases,” and “traditions” serving as conceptuai and linguistic partitions. Cultural devel~ opments begin and end, while events in between follow in linear fashion. The approach is analytical and rational, rather than emotional, with the past revealed in the study of remains recovered by excavation and analysis (Watson, Zimmer- man, and Peterson 1989). 'N arrvs AMERICAN Vrsws or PAST Although over-generalization is certainly a risk, Native American views of the past appear to have some common themes. American indians in particular have. directly chailenged archaeological views of the past. To them the idea that dis- covery is the only way to know the past is absurd. For a Native American orient- ( ed toward traditional practice and belief, conceptually and pragmatically the past lives in the present, with the present viewed as the oniy "real" temporal realm. Past events provide exemplars for present action, but as human nature does not change, the situation is only different as to its observable {actors such as people invoived or locations. The past, therefore, is the present (ct. Lowenthal 1985:xv}.‘ Indians know the past because it is spiritually and ritually a part of daily exis— tence and relevant only as it exists in the present. A specific future is unknown and of iittle immediate concern except that for a future to occur, time must be renewed by proper ritual adherence. to naturai law. The past and present are not separate but are in a continuous process of becoming. The past is a unifying spir- itual "knowiedge" that is not and cannot be constrained by any versions of time made by humans (Eliade 1985:1122). This is not to say that Native Americans have no view of chronology or try to avoid its use, but "lacking a sense of rigid chronoiogy, most tribal religions did not base their vaiidity on a specific event dividing man’s time experience in a before and after” (Deloria 1973:113). The crucial issue is that "truth" was revealed in mythicai times, specificaliy at creation, given by the gods, and effectively became natural law. Time is eternal, cyciical and endlessly repetitive (Eiiade 1985:112). As Viola Hatch, a Southern Cheyenne, stated at the Peacekeeper rebut» ial conference {USAF 3985258}: We do not have a set of guidelines written on a piece of paper to Show us how to live. We got it from the Great Spirit. He told us one time, we learned it, foilowai it to this day. These approaches are supported by primary orality, the nearly compiete emphasis on the spoken word by traditional cultures. In most traditional Native American cultures, “learning or knowing means achieving close, empathetic, communal identification with the known” {Ong 1982945). "Word meanings come continuously out of the present, though past meanings of course have shaped the present meaning in many and varied ways {that are] no longer recognized" (Ong 1982:1031). Though the past is recognized as important, its relevance to the present is determined by what is happening now. The mechanism for knowing the past is orai tradition, which recounts the mythic and makes the past and the present the “wuqu Usurping Native American Voice 17.3 same. Oral tradition therefore takes precedence over any other kind of knowledge about the past/present, including that generated by Euroamerican historical or archaeological techniques. Esther Stutzrnan, a Coos Bay woman, phrases the differences in approaches to knowing the past as follows: "The past is obvious to the indian people, it does not appear to be obvious to the White man” (Ross and Stutzman 198516}. In other words, a present past is part of daily life and experience and does not have. to be sought. Cecil Antone (quoted in Quick 1986:153) of the Gila River tribes eiabo— rates: ,s My ancestors, reiatives, grandmother, and so on down the iine, they let] you about the history of our people and it’s passed on and basically, what I'm trying to say, I guess, is that archaeology don't mean nothing. We just accept it, not accept archaeology, but accept the way our past has been estabiished and just keep on trying to live the same styie, however old it is. Gordon Pullar (1994219), a Native Alaskan, recounts a statement made by a mid dle-aged woman at a $991 planning meeting for the National Museum of the American indian: You people keep talking about preserving the past. Can’t you see there is no past? Can't you see that the past is today and the past is tomorrow? It’s all the same! Can't you see that? Finally the attitude toward discovery of the past is well summarized by Athabas- can Ernie Turner (quoted in Anderson et al. 1983228) who says: Human bones are not able to talk to the scientists and leave them information. Culture talks to us and gives us messages from the past. Spiritual communication is not a theory, it is a fact. 1 am not sure what the bones teti [the archaeoiogists] of the spiritual beliefs of my peopie. Even if the bones do communicate, i’rn not sure what they tetl you is true. Simply stated, the past and the present are essentially the same in content and meaning, though details may differ. As a tradition~oriented Native American, if you know the oral history of your people, you need no other mechanisms for "discovering" your people’s past. ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND NATiVE AMERICAN USES OF THE NATIVE AMERICAN VOICE These Native American ways to knowing the past are nearly anathema to an archaeology that is empirically based or processual in approach. Yet even procesw sualist archaeology uses Native American voice. The notion of voice is borrowad from literary criticism. in essence, it suggests that there is a voice beyond the voic- es that speak in a work, "a sense of a pervasive presence, at determinate intelli- gence and moral sensibility, which has selected, ordered, rendered, and expressed” (Abrams 1988:l 36) these materials in a certain way. Though critics argue over the precise meaning of voice, they agree that the purpose of authorial voice and presence is to persuade the reader to "yield to the work that unstinting imaginative consent without which a {work} would remain no more than an elab— 174 The Future ofthe Pest orate verbal game" (Abrams 1988:1257). Voice contains and uses the author’s vai- ues, beliefs, and moral vision as implicit controlling forces. "the use of voice is often not a matter of conscious choice for those who write fiction, and those who write scholarly materials are most often not at all aware of its use. Archaeologists ask that the reader accept that they have the authority to speak for the human beings under archaeological investigation, or, that they have some understanding that is accessible only through archaeological reconstruc- tion. In other words, because archaeology is purported to be the only way that information about the past can be obtained, the archaeologist may knowingly or unknowingly claim the Native American voice and asks others to yield to that authority. One might say that a "scientific" voice becomes equated with Native American voice. This is clear, for example, in the quotation from Meighan above, that the ancient peoples remain without a past unless archaeologists write it. As physical anthropologist Douglas Owsley {quoted in Anderson, Zieglowsky and Schermer 198331) noted: My objective is simply to note that limitations exist in other Forms of evidence including historic records or oral tradition. Without archaeology and skeletal biology research, Indian history would extend no further into the past than per— mitted by their own oral tradition. It is at this point that the scientific communi— ty can provide insight into that period of time long forgotten by oral tradition. A more recent, and stunningly clear example appeared in a recent issue of Archer» elegy. Archaeologist }ohn Whittaker {1992:5668} discusses the archaeology of the Sinagua, a prehistoric complex of the American Southwest that is either Hakataya or Anasazi. The first sentence immediately sets the voice: "Few of us would both- er with archaeology if we weren't emotionally involved with the past. We don’t dig for dry bones and dusty potsherds, 1out for people" (Whittaker 199256). in that sentence he has instantly sought to say that he is not "objectifying" the past, but rather he is personalizing it. His last paragraph solidly reifies the voice; he is speaking for the people of the past: It pains me to learn that the Sinagua were probably not as happy as I would like them to have been, although i know that is irrational. l still admire their skills and knowledge, even though they probably didn’t bathe and had rotten teeth that stank. l'm sure like the rest of us they could be mean and stupid, loving and kind. And I am certain that l would like to meet them and talk to them, touch their bat- tered, calioused hand. God forbid that I should ever have to live their life, but the Sinagua are real people to me, and 1 care about them and want to tell their story. [emphasis added] Whittaker sincerely expresses the feelings of many who are in archaeology. The issue is not, however, a question of sincerity, but of use of Native American voice. What Whittaker does in the emphasized line is to ask the reader to submit to his authority, implying that he has a right and the ability to tell the story: this was the life of the Sinagua people. Again, do not misunderstand; for an archaeologist to use Native American voice is legitimate, but it has ramifications for our dealings with lndian people. ‘ihe basis for archaeological authority in using Native American voice derives ....~_& Usurpirig Native American Voice 175 from two sources. The first comes from an appeal to the universality of the human experience. Whittaker, for example, makes himself coeval with the Sinagua and other archaeologists often do this as well, to the point of claiming the archaeo- logical past as a common human l‘ieritage.I The second cornes from archaeologh cal use of the scientific method, which can provide valid and important insights into prehistoric life, but remains a voice that derives from material evidence. As a result, scientific voice is often seen as “dry” and depersonalizing, failing to pro vide real meaning about the lives of people.3 This is a fundamental complaint of Native American people. Native peoples might agree with Miller and Tilley (198423) who recognize that “archaeology may be held to tend toward ‘fetishism’ [in which} . . . relationships between people may be represented as though they were relationships between objects." This ’tetishism’ is a nearly exact opposite of a traditional Native Ameri— can treatment of objects as sentient or animate. This is one of the keys to under- standing Indian rejection of an archaeological past. Such extreme differences would seem to allow little compromise (of. Pagan 3991389490}. in a critique of Euroarnerican approaches to history, Vine Deloria, }r. (1977) says that history and archaeology are a theoretical house of cards built on an evo- lutionary theory in which objects or events, but not people, are put into chrono— logical frameworks from which meaning is somehow derived. He contends that Natives focus on people and how they experienced their lives: they know what their lives mean. This is what Cecil Antone meant in the earlier quotation when he said: "archaeology don't mean nothing." indigenous pimple cannot accept archaeoiogical use of Native American voice as reasonable because it is a matter of cultural survival. 'ihe past lives in the pre- sent for Native American people and does not exist as a separate entity. When archaeologists state that the past is gone, extinct, or lost unless archaeology is done, they send a strong message that Native American people themselves are . extinct. Acceptance of the past as archaeologists view it would actually destroy the Native American present. Taken further, if the past is the present, excavated human remains are in a sense, still alive and have "personality." They must be respected as a living person should be. If Native American people were to accept ‘ archaeological views of time and the past, Native American people, to paraphrase Orig (1982:15), would have to die to continue living. This is what Deioria (1973:49) means in his book God Is Red when he states, "[tihe tragedy of America’s Indians . . . is that they no longer exist, except in the pages of books." l. lefterson Reid's editorial "Recent Findings on North American Prehistory" in a 1992 issue ofAmcr-icrm Antiquity in one sense says it all. Reid recounts attend» ing the Third Southwest Symposium at which an all-Native panel discussed their thoughts on archaeology and archaeologists. Reid (1992:195) comments that he was surprised "to have departed that session with the new and rather startling realization" that Native Americans feel threatened by archaeologists: . . . archaeological accounts of the past, cepecially the past of a particular Native American people, are perceived by them to present a threat to traditional, Native American accounts of that same past. The perceived threat is that the archaeo- logical account eventually would replace the traditionally constructed past and erode, once again, another piece of their culture. 176 The Future of the Past Because Reid normally used Native American voice in his archaeological writing, he assumed that Native American and archaeological views of the past were much the same, but came to recognize that there can be a traditionally construct- ed past that is different. He was also surprised to hear the Native Americans declare, after two days of listening to academic papers, that the archaeology of the Southwest had no rele- vance for southwestern l'nciians. In their view "archaeology was only relevant to » other archaeologists" (Reid 19922196). Reid notes that, "[a] North American pre» history irreievant to North American Indians would seem to be in jeopardy, or, minimally, in serious need of epistemological adjustment” (ibid.}. He concludes with the following questions (ibid.): Should prehistory be relevant to Native Americans? And if so, how is this rele- vance to be achieved? Who is to judge? Do Native American oral histories and scientific accounts of prehistory complement one another, like traditional and modern medicine, or is one destined to be subsumed by the other? Reid's opinion is amazing because he is so absolutely correct on one level, while at the same time showing a complete lack of understanding of core epistemolog- ical issues. His observations are not particularly new. That Native Americans, and indeed most indigenous peoples, mistrust archaeology and question its relevance is at the very heart of the repatriation and reburiai issues. Fifteen years ago, for example, Valarie Talmage (1982:45) noted that archaeologists are "often frustrat— ed by modern Indian groups' disinterest and disbelief in the results of archaeo- logical study.” Reid’s observations are intriguing in that they seem to be the first hint in American mainstream archaeological literature that something is really wrong with archaeology, but his professed wonderment that some group might consider archaeology as irrelevant borders on the farcical. What Reid is involved with is an a gile, though unintentional, etfort to call for a new epistemology. NATIVE AMERICAN Vorcs, SHARED TIME AND Ernnocmncrsm Archaeologists worldwide have been slow to recognize that epistemological shifts must be made if archaeology is to have any retevance at all to anyone besides archaeologists. Some indigenous people have openly declared the issue to be amatter o§__control over the past. As Rosalind Langford stated at the 1982 meeting of the AuStralian Archaeological Association (quoted in Lovell~Jones 199123): The issue is control. You seek to say that as scientists you have a right to obtain and study intorination of our culture. You seek to say that because you are Aus- tralians you have a right to study and explore our heritage because it is a heritage to be shared by all Australians. . . , We say that it is our past, our culture and her- itage, and forms part of our present life. As such it is ours to control and it is ours to share on our terms. Langford’s sentiment is an Australian Aboriginal’s reflection on the scientific colonialism of archaeological epistemology. indigenous ways of knowing the past are as rigid as those of archaeology, and when the issue becomes politicized, the m. __.-.u_.___.__w Usurping Native American Voice 177 matter can easily dissolve into an overt battle for control of the past. But this is not the only possible outccime. Again, for archaeology the problem is epistemological. Because the past must be examined scientifically, it becomes rigidly objectified. Fabian (1983) carries the notion of objectification much further in a way that provides considerable insight. He contends that anthropologists rnust distance themselves spatially and tempo— rally from the Other in order to create an object of study. Time is a carrier of sig- nificance, a way in which anthropology defines the content oi relations between itself and the Other {Fabian 1983:ix). isaheling plays an essential role in creating that temporal distance. Labels, which may or may not have explicitly temporal references, can connote temporal distance. in archaeology, commonly used lin— guistic partitions such as "phase", "tradition", or "period" are examples. Terms like mythical, which many prehistorians use to describe oral tradition, "connote temporal distancing as a way of creating the objects or referents ol anthropologi— cal discourse" (ibid.:3{}). Fabian suggests that anthropologists tend to deny "coevalness," which he. defines as a "persistent and systematic tendency to place the referent(s) of anthropology in a time other than the present of the producer of anthropological discourse” {ibid23l). Archaeological “objectivity” can thus be seen as linked to the temporal distancing between archaeologists and Native American people. “To use an extreme formulation, temporal distance is objectivv ity in the minds of many practitioners" (ibidLBG), Echoing Leone (1978), Fabian (1983:ix-x} notes that "Time may give form to relations of power and inequalh ty...." Thus, the construction of anthropology's object through temporal concepts and devices "is a political act; there is a ’Politics of ?imc”’ libid). Hill (1988) amplifies this point in his introduction to a volume analyzing Native South American perspectives on the past. He debunks what might be con— sidered the “archaeological” viewpoint in which the past becomes an entity somehow distinct from both the researcher and contemporary Native Americans. Objectivity in historical research is a product of “bracketing out" the individual researcher in a sort of non-participatory, detached observation of historical "oth- ers" in which the researcher acts as a mirror reflecting spatially and temporally remote events (Hill 19883). History, Hill contends, should entail a critical, reflex~ .- 1ve awareness of social and historical research as a personally mediated, histori— cally situated activity. Hill (l988:3) also challenges the belief that historical interpretations based on written documents (or archaeological research?) are necessarily more objective, reliable or accurate than those embodied in oral tradition or non-verbal kinds of activity: [allthough oral and non-verbal formulations cannot be literally read as direct accotmts of historical processes, they can show how indigenous societies have experienced history and the ongoing means by which they struggle to make sense out of complex, contradictory historical processes. - In the end, he concludes that history is never reducible to "what realiv hap— =' pened." History always includes all the processes through which individuals "experience, interpret, and create changes within social orders” {ibid.). Both indi- vrduals and social groups actively participate in changing the objective condi— 178 The Future of the Past tions around them, and thus, in the construction of history. This suggests that the past, the medium within which archaeologists work, is fluid, as is objectivity itself. Accepting this notion is essential if archaeological epistemology is to accommodate Native American use of the Native American voice. When one considers the critique of archaeological approaches to the past as part of the dominant culture’s power structure and as a political act, it is easy to mistake the critique for moral condemnation. As Fabian (1983:32) observes, ”. . . bad intentions alone do not invaiidate knowledge. For that to happen, it takes bad epistemology which advances cognitive interests without regard for their ideo— logical presuppositions.” Fabian’s discussion of the issue is complex, but it boils down to archaeologists having a right to their own views of the pasts they con- struct, but only so long as they recognize the fundamental paradox of their genes sis. Archaeoiogists seek to describe and explain peopies’ lives, but largely exclude these people from direct involvement in the project. At the same time that archaeologists seek to communicate with Native American people, they are engaged in temporally distancing them. As Fabian (1983231) contends, however, "[ciommunication is ultimately about creating shared Time.” Archaeologists, for example, cannot continue to maintain that the past is iost with reburial. The idea that anyone can "save" the past is a false notion. As Lowenthal (198E430) notes, preservation itself reveals that permanence is an illu- sion: The more we save, the more we hecome aware that such remains are continually aitered and reinterpreted. We suspend their erosion only to transform them in other ways. And saviors of the past change it no less than iconoclasts bent on its destruction. This realization leads, of course, to the doorstep of postmodern approaches which if taken to their logical extreme leave us with an empty feeling that all pasts are equaliy valid, when intuitively we understand otherwise. This is where many postmodern approaches fail. ETHNOCRITICAL ARCHAEOEDGY Some have suggested that compromise positions couid accommodate problems raised in this paper (Renfrew and Bahn 19912484; Thomas 2991.46). itiowever, compromise in the usual sense of the word is not possible when the uses of Native American voice are anathema and politically ioaded. Ethnocritical archae‘ ology, in which archaeologists and indigenous people share construction of the past, might be more beneficial. This notion of an ethnocritical archaeoiogy derives from the work of Arnold Krupat (1992) and his definition of ethnocriticism. Krupat writes from the perspective of literary criticism, with a focus on Native American literature. Following Wilden (1972), he is suspicious of any scientific theory or position that looks like a metaphor for the dominant society’s ideology or that might be construed as contributing to the alienation of any class or group (Krupal 1992:27). Thus when it is suggested that a compromise between archaeov logical and Native views be attempted, he would suspect that any such settles ment would be constructed from the position of the dominant group and that it . .5 .W Aa.r.m‘.__..._._ . “.- Usurping Native American Voice 179 would iikely be ineffective and potentiatly alienating. Compromises still reflect the positions of those who are party to them. For archaeology this wode mean that by seeking compromise, we would just be trying to find another way of tailing “our” own story, of "turning 'their' incoherent jabber into an eloquence of use only to ourselves” (Krupat 199219. If epistemology is about the iimits of knowledge, ethnocriticism suggests that scholars work at those limits, in other words, that we work at the boundaries of our ways of knowing. As Krupat {1992115) suggests, this is a frontier orientation, . . . where oppositional sets like West/Rest, {is/Them, anthropological/btologi» cal, historical/mythicai, and so on, often tend to break down. On the one hand, cultural contact can indeed produce mutual rejections, the reification oi differ- ences, and defensive retreats into ceiebrations of what each group regards as dis- tinctly is own. . . . On the other hand, it may also frequenliy be the case that inter- action leads to interchange . . . and transculturalization. For Krupat the oppositionai view serves no useful purpose. Just as dichotomized binary reasoning once served as justification for imperial domina~ tion, it serves today to justify postcolonial revisionist "victimist history." One can acknowiedge that some people have been hurt by others in the colonial context, but where does that iead except to rhetoric? In ethnocriticism the concern is with differences rather than oppositions, and an effort is made to repiace oppositional with diaiogical models. Claims to accuracy, systematicity, and knowledge would reside in their capacity to take more into context (Krupat 1992:27}. There is no master narrative, just one position among many (ibid.): Given its frontier condition ot liminality or betweenvness, eihnocriticism by its very nature must test any appeals to ‘reason,’ ‘5cience,’ ‘knowledge,’ or 'truth’ it would make in relation to Other or non~Western constructions of these categories, or r . . to any categories Others may propose. The result is a relative truth, but not in the sense of a full~blown, epistemoiogical reiativism. Ethnocriticism seeks a position between objectivisrn and relativism,- it does have rules. We can stilt be scientific in ways that are meaningful, hy specin tying the methods and procedures followed and by indicating the empirical and logical components of arguments. "No one can doubt that such a science will be more modest and very different from what Science has heretofore been in the West. . . _” (Krupat 1992:77). ETHNOCRITICISM IN PRACTICE Of course, the problem for ethnocriticism and its application in archaeology is that archaeoiogists understand so little about the Native American use of Native American voice, or for that matter, Native American epistemoiogy. For an ethno— critical approach to work, archaeologists need to make an effort to understand Native American concepts of the past and how the past is known. This takes the discipline to the ethnocritical frontier but does not ailow it to work there. Episte— mology without methodoiogy will fail. A good start toward building an appro- priate methodology might be simply to turn the toois of archaeology, which tend 180 The Future of the Past to focus on the analysis of material culture, over to Native American peoples to apply to their own "research" attestions.‘ The archaeologist becomes a facilitator. Efforts to try to operationaiize Such an approach have been rare, but are becom— ing more common. The initial results of such collaborative ventures are fascinatw ing. 1n Austraiia, for example, Colin Pardoe, an osteoiogist studying Aboriginal remains, provides a possible model for how a "shared time,” to use Fabian's phrase, can be created. Pardoe does no excavation or analysis without intensive community involvement. He asks permission to work on remains even if he sus- pects that they are not related to groups now occupying the area in which bones are found. He asks people their opinion of the research problems he is address- ing. lie tells them why he needs to do certain tests, and if they are out of the ordi- nary (such as in destructive techniques), he asks permission. Reading one of Far» doe’s (eg. Pardoe 1988) community reports might be very instructive for many North American archaeologists With these reports, he not only educates about what physical anthropologists do, but he provides a mechanism for community involvement in construction of the past. He maintains that he usually has little difficulty doing whatever research he needs and that he tearns a great deal more about his topics by sharing his study with Aboriginals. He admits that it limits his kind of science but recognizes it as a cost of his research (Pardoe 1991). In the United States an accidental ethnocritical study emerged out of rehurial efforts in Nebraska. As part of preparation for a court case to force repatriation of human remains under a new Nebraska state law, the Pawnee hired an archaeolo— gist to summarize the known archaeological record of their tribe. At the same time a Pawnee tribal historian gathered previously recorded oral history and other material pertaining to Pawnee origins and movements. The archaeological work and the oral history were then compared for concordance {Zimmerman and Echo-Hawk 1990). The Pawnee historian subsequently rte—analyzed this material under a separate contract with the {)en'ver Airport and published it as part of a final report (Echo—Hawk 3992; $993). The report is fascinating for the way in which it takes the archaeological evidence and uses it to bolster Pawnee oral his- tory. There is certainly not complete concordance and conflicting data are simply set aside and noted as being a different type of information (sometimes with neg— ative comments about archaeology). From an archaeological point of view, it shows that there is historicity to oral tradition, though the time frame differs as does the meaning assigned to history.5 In my experience, i have found Native American peoples to be extraordinari— ly patient in their dealings with archaeologists. They recognize that some parts of archaeology may be useful to them if applied using their “rules” and their epis~ temologies. l’erhaps this is because their epistemologies are less rigid than those of archaeology. What archaeologists must face is a "past" that is peculiar to their discipline and that the pasts they construct potentially have an impact on Native peoples. To communicate effectively with Native American people, archaeolo— gists will need to learn how to share both "time" and control oi the past. Anthro~ poiogists must accept that their own "faith" in positivistwbased science enjoys no Usurping Native American Voice 181' privileged status over the various mythic views of history as expressed by Native American people. There is a place for Native American voice used by archaeotogists, but it is not the only Native American voice possible. indeed, working at the frontiers between archaeological and Native American epistemologies presents both archaeology and Native American pauples with seemingly infinite potential. ACKNOWLEDG EMENTS This paper has benefited from discuSSions with several people including Roger Echo-Hawk, Elizabeth Prine, Alison Wylie, Tristine Smart, Rich Fox, Tom Patter— son, Mark Leone, Charles Orser, Vine Deloria, ]r., Leonard Bruguier, Jonathan Hill, Jeremy Sabloff and Randy McGuire. Their assistance should not necessarily he construed as agreement with my positions. Errors in the interpretation of their remarks are certainly my own. Deward Walker, Karen Zimmerman, and Christine Lovell-Jones assisted by providing material. NOTES _ 1. This appears to describe Australian Aborigine’s understanding of time, its well. See town-Jones (399134} for a discussion. 2. For Native Americans we tend to devise an image that is congruent with the needs of the dominant society. This has been treated well in Trigger (1980), McGuire (1997), (mag )a recent BBC Horizon program entitled “The Myth of The Noble Savage” (Hawkes l 2 . 3. An exception is a recent best-selling series of novels ataout prehistoric Native Americans by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear (People ofthc Wolf [1990,] People of the Fire [1991], People of the Earth E1992], and Peopie of the River [1992}, with others forth— coming). The authors are archaeologists. Their novels are based on solid archaeological research, and a material culture emphasis is obvious throughout. Still, the novels’ popular— ity, in part, derives from the authors' use of what i would call archaeological voice to teii an indigenous story in a personal way that emphasizes emotion and meaning in life. 4. Archaeologists might wish to expand the scope of their inquiry to include research about how people process and understand the past. Elliot Oring (1995:183, in com- menting on one of my articles (Zimmerman 1994), suggests that this is folklore, not archae- ology. He also suggests that archaeology holds no version of the past. On the latter point he is profoundly mistaken. On the former he makes an interesting point, but this narrow view of archaeology is precisely what makes it of no use to Native people. 5. A number of other such projects have been tried. The Universitv of South Dako— ta’s work with the Northern Cheyenne (McDonald et al. 1990}, and Bielawski (1989} and boring's (n.(l., and this volume) work with the Inuit are but a few examples. Many other similar projects are currently in progress. The Pawnee are continuing their work in a co]— laborattve eftort between Roger Echo-Hawk and archaeologist Steve Helen. Further work by Echo~tiawk (1994) can be seen in his Masters Thesis at the University of Colorado. Recent sessions at both the American Anthropological Association and the Society for American Archaeology meetings have addressed successful attempts to create shared time. 182 The Future of flu: Post REFERENCES CITED Abrams, M. H. 1988. A Glossary of Literary Terms. New York: t-«ioit, Rinehart and Winston. Andenson, Duane, D, Zieglowsky and Shirley Schermer. 1983. “The Study of Ancrent Skele» ta] Material in iowa: A Symposium.” Manuscriot on file at the Office oi the State Archaeologist, Iowa City, Iowa. ‘ ’F I Anderson, K. M. 1969. "Ethnographic analogy and archaeological interpretation. Science 163:133m138. . 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CHAPTER 'Z'HIRTEEN Repatriation and Community Anthropology The Smithsonian Institution’s Arctic Studies Center‘ STEPHEN LORINC} COMMUNITY ANTHROPOLOGY AT THE SMITHSONIAN As a museum anthropologist with the Smithsonian's Arctic Studies Center (ASC) I have been humbied by the coilecting zeal of the niiieteenth‘cen-tu— ry anthropologists who ranged the world to fili their respective institutions with the curiosities and trash from distant iands and distant epochs. Such things were once daily household objects but have, through the alchemy of time and the mir— acle of preservation, become the treasures of today. Much of the world’s pa trimo— ny that hasn’t been scattered and shom of its history and provenance has found shelter in museums. Once the purview of a few scholars and a email cadre of museum professionals charged with the curation and care of these coliections, the museum worid has been transformed within the last decade or so by the enthu- siasm and interest of Native groups, artists, and scholars who have, and are in the process of, rediscovering their cultural patrimony. In part this awareness has emerged as a consequence of the passage of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGEBRAl that finds museums throughout the United States and Canada reconsidering their roles vis- r‘l-vis Native Americans. Concurrently, many Native communities are experieno ing a burgeoning awareness of their cuitural heritage as evidenced by the con— struction of local and regional culturai centers and by the growth of initiatives like Keepers of the Treasure. These new laws, new concerns, and new initiatives have the potential of realigning relations hetween Native Americans, museum professionals, and others concerned with the preservation of the physical patriw mony and intellectuai heritage of Native American and First Nations peoples As an anthropologist {archaeologish ethnohistorian, ethnographer) working in the North (Labrador, Alaska, the Aleutian Islands), it has been my privilege to experience something of the drama, intensity, and integrity of community iife in Arctic viliages. In the North, many Native villages still retain a strong communi— ty identity based on hunting and fishing subsistence economies and an ideology that includes a special reverence for elders who retain their cultures’ traditional ecological knowledge and spirituai reverence for the iand and for the animais on 285 ...
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