The theme of this year’s symposium – From Truth to Reconciliation: Redefining Archaeology in Ontario – is an acknowledgment that Supreme Court decisions, the TRC Calls to Action, and UNDRIP have direct and immediate consequences for how archaeology is practiced in Ontario. It is clear that the relationship between archaeology and First Nations peoples must change; however, the specific nature and direction that these changes must take is unclear – particularly given the complex and intertwined web of legislation that governs archaeological practice in Ontario. How do we practice an archaeology that respects Indigenous rights while operating within a regulatory system that does not fully recognize those rights yet?
The goal of this year’s symposium is to explore what redefining the relationship between First Peoples and archaeologists may mean, both in “grounded” archaeological practice and in our conceptual frameworks. To that end, we are inviting representatives from Indigenous communities across the province to share their perspectives on the current state of the relationship and how it can be improved. In addition, archaeologists are encouraged to share their thoughts on this evolving issue and how they will be affected. In sharing our perspectives and opinions, we hope to begin work on a framework that will see our communities cooperating on matters of mutual interest moving forward. We are under no illusion that a comprehensive and monolithic solution will be achieved that can represent the disparate and diverse perspectives of all of the parties and individuals who participate in these discussions, but we hope to create an opportunity to listen and search for common ground.
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