Indigenous Archaeology: American Indian Values and Scientific Practice (Indigenous Archaeologies Series)

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9780742503298: Indigenous Archaeology: American Indian Values and Scientific Practice (Indigenous Archaeologies Series)
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As a practicing archaeologist and a Choctaw Indian, Joe Watkins is uniquely qualified to speak about the relationship between American Indians and archaeologists. Tracing the often stormy relationship between the two, Watkins highlights the key arenas where the two parties intersect: ethics, legislation, and archaeological practice. Watkins describes cases where the mixing of indigenous values and archaeological practice has worked well―and some in which it hasn't―both in the United States and around the globe. He surveys the attitudes of archaeologists toward American Indians through an inventive series of of hypothetical scenarios, with some eye-opening results. And he calls for the development of Indigenous Archaeology, in which native peoples are full partners in the key decisions about heritage resources management as well as the practice of it. Watkins' book is an important contribution in the contemporary public debates in public archaeology, applied anthropology, cultural resources management, and Native American studies.

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About the Author:

Joe Watkins is an anthropologist at University of New Mexico and a member of the Choctaw tribe. He has a Ph.D. in archaeology from Southern Methodist University.

Review:

Dr. Watkins is to be commended for his thorough research and even-handed presentation of the facts and issues in a debate that sparks emotion on both sides. (Stacye Hathorn, Alabama Historical Commission)

This important book offers a unique lens on archaeology and its practitioners. Native American archaeologist Joe Watkins gives us a penetrating analysis of what archaeologists think about themselves and their subject, framed by his inimitable wit and tact. Indigenous Archaeology is a must-read for anyone interested in the future of archaeology as a profession. (K Anne Pyburn, (Indiana University))

Joe Watkins draws upon his experience and expertise as a federal archaeologist and a Choctaw to address Native American sensitivities and the modern practices of archaeology. Tracing the often controversial and confrontational relationship between these two opposing perspectives, Watkins articulately highlights the key arenas where parties intersect including ethics, legislation, and archaeological practices....Indigenous Archaeology is very highly recommended reading for students of archaeology and Native American studies. (The Bookwatch)

Watkins is Choctaw and a professional archaeologist. Since college in the 1970s, he has worked to help other archaeologists understand First Nations' positions on research on their ancestors, and helped American Indians to see the benefits of archaeology.He clarifies First Nations' basic issue, sovereignty, and by implication, the same issue provoking archaeologists insisting on scientific research primacy―does science's universality supersede national claims? Does U.S. cultural patrimony encompass itsconquered nations' forbears? Watkins covers the history of antiquities legislation―a handy reference for practitioners―and with a few well-chosen cases illustrates a range of outcomes, culminating in the Kennewick Man controversy, in which eight leadingscientists are pitted against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' interpretation of the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which holds that bones antedating European invasions, buried within territory recognized as Umatilla by treaty, must be given to the Umatilla Tribe. The eight scientists argue that a 9400-year-old person was not 'culturally affiliated' with historic Umatilla, and that biologically the skeleton doesn't fit any historic population. Watkins compares Canadian, Mao (Alice Beck Kehoe, professor of anthropology emeritus, Marquette University CHOICE)

In this book... the author, a Native American with great experience in both archaeological research and managing Native American policies regarding the practice of archaeology on Indian lands or with Indian remains and ancestors, recounts with honesty his own changing views on these matters, and how these conflicts have been dealt with in different situations. However, the book is not just a personal account, but a well-structured analysis of this problem in the U.S.... I can recommend this very comprehensive book to people interested in these matters, or in an overview of the situations in the USA. (Paulo De Blasis, (Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia, Universidade de Sao Paulo) Indigenous Knowledge Development Monitor)

Watkins is Choctaw and a professional archaeologist. Since college in the 1970s, he has worked to help other archaeologists understand First Nations' positions on research on their ancestors, and helped American Indians to see the benefits of archaeology. He clarifies First Nations' basic issue, sovereignty, and by implication, the same issue provoking archaeologists insisting on scientific research primacy―does science's universality supersede national claims? Does U.S. cultural patrimony encompass its conquered nations' forbears? Watkins covers the history of antiquities legislation―a handy reference for practitioners―and with a few well-chosen cases illustrates a range of outcomes, culminating in the Kennewick Man controversy, in which eight leading scientists are pitted against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' interpretation of the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which holds that bones antedating European invasions, buried within territory recognized as Umatilla by treaty, must be given to the Umatilla Tribe. The eight scientists argue that a 9400-year-old person was not 'culturally affiliated' with historic Umatilla, and that biologically the skeleton doesn't fit any historic population. Watkins compares Canadian, Maori, and Saami situations, and emphasizes Indian Nations' own archaeology programs. Highly recommended for archaeology courses and cultural diversity discussions at all levels. (Alice Beck Kehoe, professor of anthropology emeritus, Marquette University CHOICE)

This book has many useful insights to offer. As a Native American who is also a university-trained anthropologist and a federal archaeologist, Joe Watkins is uniquely qualified to examine the issues raised....This is a book that archaeologists should take seriously. (Lynne Sebastian, Statistical Research, Inc. Journal of Anthropological Research)

This book is a very valuable contribution to the important ongoing discussion of values and ethics in American archaeology.... [A] Native American with a Ph.D. in archaeology, [Watkins] offers an appreciation of and sensitivity to Indian values, thereby providing an important cultural critique of the more traditional perspectives of mainstream archaeology. (Richard B. Stamps, Oakland University American Antiquity, Vol. 66.1, 2003)

It is an excellent synthesis of the principal issues that face all North American archaeologists and a balanced discussion of the underlying cultural values of American Indians. It should be read by all people object to much of what archaeologists do. It is also an ideal starting point for the teaching of professional ethics and legislation related to archaeology. . . .Because of Watkins's experience and the balanced selection of issues, readers of his book will be able to make more informed decisions regarding the questions he raises. (Barbara J. Mills, University of Arizona American Anthropologist, Vol.105 No.2 June 2003)

Indigenous Archaeology is a valuable book for academics, consultants, students, First Nations, and general readers. Joe Watkins, an Indigenous archaeologist who has a Ph.D. and many years of experience in working with and for governments and Aboriginal groups, has put together a perceptive volume that examines the constantly evolving relationship between archaeology and First Nations peoples. He has some fascinating insights into the past, current and future state of relations between archaeology and First Nations....an excellent starting point, from which all sides interested in the past can begin to work together to resolve the complex issues that surround Indigenous Archaeology. (Rudy Reimer, Squamish Nation, First Heritage Archaeological Consulting, Vancouver, B.C. Canadian Journal of Archaeology, Vol.28, 2004, Issue 1)

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