Over the past 20 years, collaboration has become an essential aspect of archaeological practice in North America. In paying increased attention to the voices of descendant and local communities, archaeologists have become aware of the persistent injustices these often marginalized groups face. Building on growing calls for a responsive and engaged cultural heritage praxis, this forum article brings together a group of Native and non-Native scholars working at the nexus of history, ethnography, archaeology, and law in order to grapple with the role of archaeology in advancing social justice. Contributors to this article touch on a diverse range of critical issues facing Indigenous communities in the United States, including heritage law, decolonization, foodways, community-based participatory research, and pedagogy. Uniting these commentaries is a shared emphasis on research practices that promote Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination. In drawing these case studies together, we articulate a sovereignty-based model of social justice that facilitates Indigenous control over cultural heritage in ways that address their contemporary needs and goals.
Indigenous Governance Database
The Navajo Nation Archaeology Department was created in 1977 to facilitate historic preservation on Navajo Nation lands as mandated by both US and tribal government legislation. In 1988 and again in 1993, the Department expanded to include training programs, undertaken in partnership with Northern Arizona University and Ft. Lewis College, which are designed to give Navajo students the professional skills needed to conduct these important historic preservation activities. The training programs provide field and laboratory experience to Navajo graduate and undergraduate students concentrating in anthropology or archaeology. By combining academic training with practical application on the Navajo Reservation and western technical skills with traditional Navajo knowledge and oral history, the programs are preparing a pool of qualified Native professionals to assume cultural resource positions that historically have been filled by non-Navajos.
"Navajo Nation Archaeology Department — Training Programs". Honoring Nations: 2000 Honoree. The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2001. Report.
This Honoring Nations report is featured on the Indigenous Governance Database with the permission of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development.