Through Wary Eyes: Indigenous Perspectives on Archaeology

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Through Wary Eyes: Indigenous Perspectives on Archaeology

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Annual Review of Anthropology


Watkins, Joe

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Annual Review of Anthropology, JSTOR




Abstract: Archaeology has been linked to colonialist attitudes and scientific imperialism. But what are the perspectives of Indigenous groups concerning the practice of archaeology? Numerous organizations recognize the distinctive needs of Indigenous communities throughout the world and have adopted agreements and definitions that govern their relationships with those populations. The specific name by which Indigenous groups are known varies from country to country, as local governments are involved in determining the appropriateness of particular definitions to populations within their borders. This paper begins with an examination of the various aspects that have been used to determine whether or not a group of people might be considered “indigenous” under various definitions, and then uses the history of the relationships between North American archaeologists and Indigenous populations as a background for the examination of some of the political aspects of archaeology that have impacted Indigenous populations. It then proceeds to discuss perspectives on archaeology offered by members of various Indigenous populations throughout the World.

Additional tags: colonialism; imperialism; Inidgenous perspectives on archaeology; archaeology and politics


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