Fugitive Archaeological Spaces
Over the past year, we have seen renewed organizing amongst Black and Indigenous heritage professionals as well as the emergence of new collectives globally. These efforts have led to new initiatives around capacity building, community engagement, and decolonizing research methodologies. In this panel members of these new and emerging organizations will discuss their genesis, initiatives, as well as challenges and opportunities associated with empowering their communities in archaeology and heritage preservation.
Nathan Acebo, PhD, UC Merced, Indigenous Archaeology Collective
Lewis Borck, PhD, New Mexico Highlands University, Black Trowel Collective
Patricia Marinho, PhD, Technical Advisor for Quilombola Community, Rede de Arqueologia Negra
Jeannette Plummer, British Museum, European Society of Black and Allied Archaeologists
Justin Dunnavant, PhD, Vanderbilt University, Society of Black Archaeologists
Paulo Freire and Emilio Freire
>> ADAM SMITH: All right, folks, it’s 4:00. Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to today’s installment of the webinar
series entitled “From the Margins to the Mainstream: Black and Indigenous Futures in Archaeology”.
My name is Adam Smith, I am director of the Cornell Institute of Archaeology and Material Studies, one of the sponsors of this series in collaboration with the Society of Black Archaeologists, the Indigenous Archaeology Collective, the Wenner‑Gren Foundation, and SAPIENS. Today’s discussion is made possible by the generous support of the University of California Santa Cruz’s Archaeological Research Center.
Let me provide just a brief orientation to the webinar format. Only our panelists will be visible during the discussion, and audible. Your audio and video are not active, but we do hope
that we will hear from you through the Q and A function. When you click that button, you can pose questions for our panelists and upvote questions , queries.
Today’s conversation, the seventh in our nine‑part series, is entitled: “Fugitive Archaeological Spaces”. Our final two installments in the series will follow in the first weeks of March and April respectively. On March 3, our topic will be “The Fire this Time: Black and Indigenous Ecologies”. On April 7, our focus will be on “Black and Indigenous Futurities”. We hope you can join us for both of these discussions.
Before we begin today’s conversation, I want to acknowledge that I am attending this discussion from the campus of Cornell University, which is located on the traditional homelands of the Cayuga Nation, members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign Nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land, precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York State, and the United States of America. I want to honor the ongoing connection of Cayuga people, past and present, to these lands and waters and encourage you to investigate the indigenous histories and living communities connected to the places that you occupy.
Our moderator for today’s discussion is Dr. Justin Dunnavant, an Academic Pathways Postdoctoral Fellow at Vanderbilt University and Co‑founder and current President of the Society of Black Archaeologists. Welcome Dr. Dunnavant.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Thank you.
Dr. Dunnavant is going to lead the conversation today with our 4 distinguished panelists:
Dr. Nathan Acebo is a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in Critical Mission Studies at the University of California, Merced. Welcome Dr. Acebo
>> ADAM SMITH:
>> Thanks. Looking forward to the conversation.
Dr. Lewis Borck is Assistant Professor at New Mexico Highlands University and a founding member of the Black Trowel Collective. Welcome Dr. Borck.
>> ADAM SMITH:
>> Thank you all.
Dr. Patricia Marinho is Archaeologist and Technical Advisor for the Quilombola community and a member of Rede
>> ADAM SMITH: Welcome, Dr. Marinho.
>> Good afternoon, everyone. I want to say hello to my ancestors, to the older people, because if it wasn’t for them, for their fight, for their struggles today, I wouldn’t be here today. It’s a very good discussion for us all.
We are fortunate to not only have Dr. Marinho with us today but also Paolo and Emilio Freire who will be translating for those of us who lack Portugese. Translation is provided on a separate channel which you can control.
>> ADAM SMITH: It’s on your Zoom toolbar accident using the globe interpretation button, the bottom right. This should allow you to toggle and Portuguese. This is our first attempt of simultaneous translation of one of our webinar series and we’re very excited about it and we thank you all for yourself patience.
Lastly, Jeannette Plummer Sires is Curator of Archaeological Assemblages at the British Museum and a founding member of the European Society of Black and Allied Archaeologists. Welcome, Jeannette.
>> Hay. Thank you for having me. Hi. Thank you for having me.
With those brief introductions, let me hand the floor over to our moderator, Dr. Dunnavant.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: All right. Thank you, Dr. Smith. All right. We’re excited to have everyone here today to talk about fugitive archeological spaces. I just want to provide a little bit of context in terms of how we came about this topic and the broader series as well. We’ve been willing a number of conversations over the past year in relationship to the global pandemic as well as the increasing visibility of racism and anti‑black violence around the world, and as a result of that, a number of organizations and institutions have emerged amongst Black and Indigenous communities, and we wanted to highlight not only the efforts they’ve been engaging in but also the actual practice of organizing that has occurred as well. So I am honored to be here as a representative of the Society of Black Archaeologists, as well as a moderator, and we look forward to the conversations and questions, and again, we encourage everyone to type questions into the Q & A function. You can type them in English or in Portuguese, whichever language works best for you all. And again, we’re excited to have everybody here internationally as well. So to start the conversation, I really wanted to get into, because there’s many different ways we can go with this and lots of history to cover, I actually wanted to start with the European question. The European Society of Black and Allied Archaeologists. This is a new organization that has formed in Europe over the last few months, and I was wondering, Jeannette, if you could just tell us a little bit about where the organization came about, how it came about, what has been your main organizing medium and sort of what you all see moving forward as opportunities.
>> JEANNETTE PLUMMER SIRES: Hi, Justin. Well, our society, it formed quite organically, with all the founding members, we had been on each others’ radar for some time. Archaeology is quite small in Britain, and you’re a Black archaeologist, you’re known to each other. And the thing is that there hadn’t been necessarily an impetus for us to really get together and to start organizing until the events of this summer. It became quite urgent at that point. And some of the obstacles that would have prevented us from meeting prior to this, prepandemic, you know, the idea that, well, we couldn’t quite ‑‑ we had to wait until we were able to meet in person. That was kind of out the window, since now we’re able to do this sort of thing. So we were able to meet via Zoom, and we took the first few sessions to get to know each other as professionals and make sure our views were aligned. So really before we started talking about what kind of group we wanted to develop, we just spent some time getting to know each other as professionals to see whether we were all on the same page. And as a result of this, we developed quite a strong mutual respect for each other, for each other’s work, and for the experiences that we’ve had in the profession.
Not all of the members of SBA identify as Black, and that’s something that’s quite important as well to our group. The thing that does unify us is that we are not non‑White archaeologists, and we have common ground in some of the structural inequality or the discrimination that we’ve faced, so that’s kind of what brought us together. And navigating this year together has actually made SBA a support group as well for all of us, and we decided that we wanted it to be more than just that, and we developed sort of our idea of what SBA would be, and it would be a support group for other archaeologists of color, it would be a safe space from which we could also just develop initiatives. And some of those initiatives that we want to develop include mentoring schemes to match early career archaeologists with more experienced ones so that some of the pitfalls that we’ve encountered, we could advise earlier on, other people, so that they don’t encounter the same things. We want to develop outreach programs that focus on schools with large numbers of students of color. And one of the things that I think is quite valuable is that dissertation and work application writing workshops, something that is quite difficult to navigate if you actually don’t have anyone else to advise you on. And ideally, we’ve also been talking about a field school, developing a field school that SBA could run.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Is it too premature to ask what you’re all thinking about that field school?
>> JEANNETTE PLUMMER SIRES: Yes.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Okay, I respect that answer. Thank you for that. Yeah, we’ll get more into the questions and conversations around the organization as well moving forward. Dr. Patricia, hello. We had a question for you. You’re joining us from Brazil. You are with an organization called ‑‑
>> PATRICIA MARINHO: Yes.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: I was wondering if you could tell us more about the organization and how it developed and where you see the future of it.
>> PATRICIA MARINHO: Okay. I’m going to talk about the organization, but before that, I would like to continue the greetings, I would like to say some greetings to some people here because it is very important to say some names of some people who may be connected here to us, watching this live program, and I wanted to continue making this acknowledgment. First of all, I would like to send a big hug, a big kiss for my saints, for my religious entities. I want to send a big kiss to my son, to Sara, I want to send a kiss to my sisters, to all my friends. You are wonderful. You are strange and weird. I also want to say hello to the entire African diaspora, I wanted to greet the fugitives, Natan, Leo, Janet, Justin, I want to thank the team from the Black African society, Black archaeologists society and the other organizations who supported us and I also wanted to send a big hug to the ask a kid IT which is the technical assistance for the remaining communities that I work. I wanted to send a big special hug for them, for Angelica, Johnny, Cologne, Lucas, sorry, I have to say everyone’s name, and a big hug to the entire community from the greeter because they are affected by landslides, they were affected by the Semarco and Valet that were the mining companies that we had these problems in Brazil, these accidents that happened. The community in its beautiful stage, so these rejects, these dejects were 35 million of wastewater, 35 million liters, and they were thrown in the river and the Atlantic Ocean as well. It is in the Atlantic Ocean right now. And it’s five years since the community has been struggling for a fair reparation, and dignity. Because what the mud destroyed is never going to come back. So I wanted to send also a special hug to my special friends, for ‑‑ lara, Diego, and Mary, who wanted me to be here today. And this conversation that we’re having here, I’m going on try and bring some of the ideas that we debate here in the group in the network that we have. And now, I wanted to show you a PowerPoint presentation, some photographies of the origin of our networks, because we have an origin, you know, we’ve already had some meetings and I wanted to share this with you. Just one moment.
Can everybody see the presentation? So there was a mobilization of the integrators, of the members and I’ve received this information from Mary. These are the first dialogues that we had about making together this archaeology, Black archaeology network, so the objective, I’m going to read it out for you, because Dego looked to Mary to put together this network. So I’ll read a little bit about the objectives of this. So I am contacting the Black archaeologists with the possibility of creating a Society of Black Archaeologists. The objective is to strengthen this class, incentiveate the representative archaeology and discuss plans and the African diaspora preservation. The idea is not only for a Society of research, it’s way beyond that. It’s a society that can take action politically to think of the processes, projects, and contributions for the archaeology community. There is a date when we started, I think this was when Mary put together the what’s app group and started to invite people to participate, the Black Archaeologists, as January ‑‑ as Jeannette said, we, Black archaeologists, we know each other.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Patricia, is it possible to put it in presentation mode?
>> PATRICIA MARINHO: Just one moment.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: No problem.
>> PATRICIA MARINHO: I’m sorry, I’m unable to put it on presentation mode.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Okay, no problem. No problem. Please continue. We can see it. We can still see.
>> PATRICIA MARINHO: Can you see the photographs, or not?
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: No, we see the slide with the What’sApp messages.
>> PATRICIA MARINHO: What about now? Can you see the photographs?
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Yes.
>> PATRICIA MARINHO: So the first meeting happened in 2018 as a contact of people talking to other Black archaeologists, and then they talked to Mary, and I just wanted to say, a year before this, when we had a meeting in 2017 in São Paulo, during the fourth week of international archaeology, organized by the archaeology museum of Mausi in São Paulo where I graduated, I where I did my master’s and my doctorate, so it was the first meeting encounter. So we selected some photographs, you can see the teacher there who is the archaeologist in North America, Whitney, Whitney Baptist, and in this meeting, this encounter, we put together many Black archaeologists, female and male, for this meeting, and there was this dialogue, this need, this emptiness that we wanted to get into, this political emptiness that we could see in archaeology where we didn’t feel represented or we felt sub, underrepresented.
So the first encounter actually happened in December 2018 after the What’sApp group was formed. So the first group met in an event of archaeology as well, in SAB, the Brazilian Archaeology Society, of the north of Brazil. After, in 2019, in São Paulo once again, not by coincidence it was in São Paulo again, the sixth week for the Archaeology Week for the museum we managed to put together a large group of members for Negrarqueo and we made public the organization and had an opportunity to read a letter of principles that we had formulated collectively and in São Paulo we did some vivid spaces of collective interests for archaeologists, for Black archaeologists, we went to the African libraries and we did some visits there as a group. So I think it was in 2019 that the group actually expands in the sense of starting to participate in Congresses, you know, using our logo, teach archaeologist does the presentation, puts the logo of NegrArqueo and in 2019 we organized the participations as a collective participation for a seminar, a research Congress for Black researchers, so it’s the first time that a group of archaeologists introduced themselves. We won’t be able to do it this year because of the pandemic, but it was the first time that we are presenting in this Black researchers Congress, which has been going for twenty years. It’s going to be the first time ever. So this was a very effective action, and currently we are doing the mapping to get to know who are and where are, what they study, what they do, this Black archaeologists, male and female. That’s it.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Thank you. Wonderful. Thank you for that introduction. I know we’ll have more conversations as the talk continues and I see lots of overlap already, especially social media and technology allowing us to communicate across many different areas. Moving into that, I wanted to talk a little bit to Lewis about the Black Trowel Collective and providing a little bit of context in terms of what that is and what has come about as a result of that. Patricia, if it’s possible to close the PowerPoint and stop the share screen? I don’t know if that’s possible.
>> PATRICIA MARINHO: That’s exactly what I’m trying to do.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: No worries. No worries. Lewis, you can go ahead.
>> PATRICIA MARINHO: Okay.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Yes, thank you.
>> LEWIS BORCK: Thank you, Justin, and thank you guys for inviting the Collective here as well. We’re really happy to be in this space, and I’m happy to be representing them here.
You know, in terms of what Patricia was just talking about and what you mentioned Justin, technology has been a fundamental aspect for us too. But how we ended up, I mean, the Black Trowel Collective is a bunch of anarchist archaeologists essentially and anarchal parallel archaeologists, people who are really interested or have similar ideas to what some of the folks more explicitly anarchists do, and there’s also some archeological parallel people in there as well. We have a lot of colleagues who have left the academy for a variety of reasons but are quite interested in material culture and archaeology also. I’ll talk a little bit about how the group came about, but it’s only, I think, our English‑speaking path really. We’ve got Spanish‑speaking collective members as well, and they have quite a different origin story. In a lot of ways, the collective itself is sort of a lake that’s been fed by a lot of different braided streams, what we kind of call an affinity group. So I will talk about at least how I understand it through the English‑speaking past, and it’s almost stratographic, I guess, in a lot of ways and it really start in the ’90s with this wonderful woman who has been anonymized, and I’ll keep her anonymized, although her name has been published here and there as well. And she goes by TK. This was in the United States, and she was publishing in underground through the mid to late ’90s and primarily aimed ‑‑ and TK is an anarchist as well and this is primarily aimed at contract workers, shovel bums, published anonymously out of hotel rooms basically as traveling the country, and the goal for t I think it came out like once a month or once every couple months, but the goal was to create a support network for skilled labor essential and will a unionless trade so that people could exchange information about what hotels to avoid, like really basic stuff, nobody wants bedbugs, that kind of thing, but also like what firms to avoid because of management issues or low pay or high turnover, that kind of stuff. So it was sort of an anarchist informed nonunion attempt to increase workers’ rights by increasing transparency and knowledge.
She also used this space to open up a lot of conversations within archaeology, shovel bums, other contract archaeologists would write in to her P.O. Box where she would pick up information, and so they would have like ongoing conversations about, you know, things like what a celebration of drunken lifestyles means both for those who are struggling with addiction as archaeologists, but also importantly how it can help bosses justify paying employees lower wages because they see them as essentially like childlike field animals, and Colleen Morgan, a colleague of mine, has been in the collectivist talked about this history as well and something I think Randy McGuire has talked about also. But TK eventually quit publishing that as things, like, as other formats for job finding and stuff came about. Then she eventually published an article on the old green anarchy message boards. I think this is back in the early 2000s about early archaeology as radical descent and that basically has been archived and that archiving in a digital format was really important because a lot of the underground scenes that she published have disappear underground zines have disappeared and that blog publication essay publication she wrote led to a few archaeologists working on anarchism or interested in anarchism outside of archaeology, getting interested in what anarchist lens to could for the discipline, both in terms of, you know, the kind of strong politics within the discipline but also as an interpretive lens to kind of counter the overwhelming and usually implicit unexamined lens of things like liberalism and colonialism within our field.
Then all of this sort of cohered into a session at Radical Archaeology Theory conference in 2009 with folks like James Birmingham, Ed Gonzalez Tenet, and the PowerPoints and their sessions are gone, but the audio was also archived online. And moving into this, I had actually been put in touch by, this is in grad school, a friend of mine, Shane Miller with another friend of his Matt Singer who is a southeastern archaeologist working on shamans because we’re both interested in using anarchism analytically and I’ve been politically oriented around it since the early ’90s when I used to organize extra‑state what you call temper autonomous zones as a teenager and in my 20s and was really interested in how we could use this perspective to actually counter some of the kind of implicit lenses. Matt and I got together and formed, put together an essay session in San Francisco in 2015, and basically using, you know, the stuff that TK had published and folks that we could find from the 2009RAT’s conference and other people that our network had kind of funnels to us, I guess, again, it’s a braided stream, right, it’s this pooling light basically, we put together a session, and it was a Sunday session, but we ended up with a full house, and we ended up with a really great conversation that happened after that, both in the conference center and kind of moving out into the city as well. And Matt and I pretty rapidly after that applied for a Wenner‑Gren workshop, so a Wenner‑Gren seems to be at the center of some great discourse. And one of the reasons that we did that is Chris Sudder who used to be the Director at Amarin foundation in Arizona got in touch with me and told us that she wanted ups to apply, because we had done the little check box for the Amarin session for the essays and stuff and the committee didn’t see our session as that would work for that so Chris was really interested. Matt and I put this workshop together and brought in as many people as we could both from the states and internationally, as well as people from the audience and all these new people that we started to see and again here is where digital technology kind of comes into play because we tried to live tweet as much of that workshop as possible and we tried to make it as not workshop‑y and conference‑y as well and a lot of it was taking place as we were wandering the grounds of the Amarin and eventually the Twitter conversations were really changing the way we were talking about this. And this whole thing was come the end of that Amarin foundation retreat on anarchism in archaeology is when the Collective was formed and pretty rapidly after that we published through Anfrodendrum, hosted on our website, from that time we did a lot of organizing around academic input or output I should say, mostly through e‑mail and stuff. A lot of us really interested in looking at pedagogy and research as emancipatory, so we started to represent that. We started to connect with other people, our Spanish‑speaking comrades in central and South America and Spain, like Leonardo Furlic putting together anarchist archaeology journals, and so eventually, we tried to cohere in five different way through websites and through group chats and through e‑mail and then Facebook messenger and back and forth, and nothing really worked until What’sApp about a year ago, I think, now, and then we’ve since switched over primarily to discord as the conversations have exploded outwards and it was impossible to follow a thread on What’sApp. And that’s really when in June on that What’sApp group is when with the cohesion that had kind of come from that constant conversation, the microgrants idea was proposed and we found consensus on that and then formed a committee to work on organizing it and it’s been wildly successful because are of the donors from that program. In terms of what we have ‑‑ like where we’re going, we’re a pretty diverse group, right? International. There’s a lot of different languages involved in this as well. So there’s a lot of different projects in the works, all at different stages. We’re in talks about developing an archeological program with Rohabe University which is newly formed, we’re also in the plans to do something with the museum of care, which is a nonbounded kind of initiative that had formed, been put together, pulled together by friends and colleagues of David Graber after his passing recently. And that’s basically looking at reimagining what a museum is, where it’s at. We’re doing the book thing because there’s a bunch of academics involved as well. But we’re also really interested and have started organizing a panel and hopefully panels, unionizing within archaeology, both in multiple countries and more broadly to help bring that discussion into the light, essentially, make it more transparent. Especially with renewed efforts towards archeological unionizing in Britain and Ontario, we think it’s a really important aspect of that conversation. And really I think that’s about ‑‑ we’ve got a public bibliography and just really otherwise it’s a support network. Our meetings are essentially a way for a lot of us to be able to express feelings and views that we might not be able to in other committees that we’re on or in our faculty meetings or back dirt piles when we’re out in the field. So it’s been interesting because there’s a lot of balance. Anarchism is a scary word for a lot of people, and it’s had, for sure it’s had negative impacts on me for at least one job that I know of, and I know it has for others, and Trump and Biden have both called for anarchists to be in prison, so there’s a lot of fear within ‑‑ maybe not fear, but concern within people within the collective about publicly coming out as a participant. So we try to manage people’s anonymity through that as well, which is one of the reasons I’m here, because I’ve been pretty vocal about it from the get‑go, so no one had to kind of step out of the shadows, as it were.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Yeah, thank you for that. I mean, there’s so many connections and overlaps. I know Society of Black Archaeologists we have a subgroup that’s shifted to discord as well for our communication network, so these things are going to happen much more span civil. I remember that 2009 symposium as well, it was standing room only and I was squeezed up against the door trying to listen in on the conversation. So I know it was very impactful. Before we jump into you, Nat he is, I wanted to call in somebody who is off camera from the Indigenous Archaeology Collective to talk a little bit about that and I think it will help contextualize the next question I’m going to pose to you, Nate. I see Sara is on board. Sara, welcome.
>> SARA GONZALEZ: Both Ora and I are here. First, thanks for having us be involved in this conversation and it’s fun listening to Lewis talk because I’ve been part of both communities, Black Trowel Collective and ‑‑ Black archaeologist and is a part of a moment that catalyzed people coming together again. So a little bit about the Indigenous Archaeology Collective about our mission and goals. We’re still kind of working out some of this, and it’s coming from a basis of mutual friendship that’s developed for over decades now. So all of the co‑founders include Mike Wilcox, Dorothy Lippert, Sonya, Peter Nelson, Patty Garcia, Wendy Teeter, Desiree Martinez, Ora and myself, we’ve known each other since we were babies in grad school or with NCRM and, you know, we’ve all been friends and part of the same shared network of people who have all coalesced around two big things. One is, you know, being either Indigenous, people of Indigenous descent or individuals who work with Indigenous communities to do archaeology in a different way, one that’s grounded in Indigenous perspectives and cultural values, and people who are advocating for the inclusion of these Indigenous perspectives into archeological practice, and also the support of Indigenous archaeologists within the field and discipline. It can be a really lonely space. I think in the last webinar that we ran, I talked about a list of Ph.D.’s of Indigenous archaeologists with Ph.D.’s and that Ora and I had put together for a grant for the Society of American archaeologies, Native American scholarships program, and as part of that there’s like 33 people with a Ph.D. That’s not a lot of folks. So it’s a really small community. And one of the most exciting things is the community is growing and expanding, but we’ve really lacked a central network, you know, outside of texting folks, being on a What’sApp thread, seeing each other at conferences, to really do more work together. And what this summer did and, you know, the events of the summer with the Society for American Archaeology coming out against recent changes to the University of California’s repatriation plan specifically that really got us start talking again and what it means to take serious peoples within archaeology and how we might again start to support one another in various ways. Like I said, one of the ‑‑ we’re still working out what this looks like beyond just the informal networks, you know, that’s been a really important part of who we are, our work is ‑‑ works on a relationship or a foundation of friendship and coming to know one another. So that’s something that we’ve really tried preserving at the same time we’ve done advocacy within the SAA, and then also with the collective, archaeology collective that we’ve established with Society of Black Archaeologists, SAPIENS and Wenner‑Gren and Siemens here, and I’ll turn it over to you to chat about those goals and what we’ve been working on.
>> Ora: Thank you everybody, I’m very honored to be a part of this conversation. So just acid a couple addition to say what Sara discussed is one of the things that we ‑‑ so just adding a couple things. One of the things we wanted to create was a very safe space. There are not very many of us who are doing Indigenous archaeology, well, at that point there weren’t, and now we’re seeing these generations of students coming out. So part of our role sort of as the elders, if you will, is to make sure that we do have a safe space, but also that we are able to provide some form of mentorship and really re‑create some of those familial kind of relationships that are inevitably a part of, you know, Indigenous communities, working with Indigenous peoples. So one of our goals, a few of our goals are to expand a little bit of what we do and providing that mentorship role to future or current Indigenous archaeologists who sort of feel like they might be alone in this space because, you know, I think we all have very similar experiences within archaeology and just sort of the feeling of being one of the only people in the room or in a classroom or in a space. So that’s something that we are prioritizing. We are still sort of in that strategic planning phase. We’re on Indian time, I guess.
But we’re really trying to let things grow organically and really coming from that place within our heart and establishing these relationships in a very intentional sort of way.
So really, you know, the IAC is a way for us to come together as a collective. We’re on many different sorts of boards and committees, but this was a way for us to really pull together and to be able to speak freely about some of the issues that we’ve experienced, issues that some of our own people have experienced, and really creating a sustainable path forward for Indigenous archaeology, so making sure that, you know, we’re there, we’re there for people, we’re providing a foundation, and we’re really excited about, you know, what’s going to happen, and really we’re looking at SBA as a model, a very sustainable model, so we’re very grateful and thankful to be in conversation with SBA and in the leadership there. So Justin and ‑‑ for the work you’ve done with us, and we’re just very amazed and really happy with the direction that we’re headed, you know, because we do know that our future is Black and Indigenous, so we’re here for support, we’re here for that sort of camaraderie that we really need at this time. So I’m really looking foward to the development IAC and the partnerships that we’ll be able to establish with one another. So definitely, thank you.
>> SARA GONZALEZ: I wanted to add too that for us and bringing in Nate to chat about his research around fugitive archeological spaces, part of that mentorship of bringing in the next generation, because Nate really s he’s part of that next generation of what Indigenous archaeology can be and where it’s headed into the future.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Yes. Wonderful. Wonderful. Great moderator role, Sara. Nice turnover into the position. Nate, yes, moving into that direction, first of all, thank you for all the work you are doing. From SBA perspective we continue to learn from you all and the other organizations popping up and it gives us inspiration to think about what is possible, what can be possible and yes the future is Black and Indigenous and it’s beautiful. So we love to see it. One of the things we talked about in SBA is, you know, the actual organizing traditions ha we study and implementing things in the way we move forward. I know in organizing SBA one of the things that stuck in my mind is the movie the battle of Algiers, I don’t know how many of you have seen that, it was so radical. But when he organized that group, he said you have to find one person and then they select two people to bring into the organization, and then they select two people to bring into the organization, and when you build out that way, nobody fully knows who is in the organization until they need to come together and operate, and it allows you to expand very far without actually having to grow into a large super structure. So I’m wondering, Nate, based off your research, could you tell us a bit about the critical mission studies program that you’re in and as well talk about some of the lessons you’re learning from the research you’re doing?
>> NATHAN ACEBO: Yes, thank you for the welcome, it’s great to be here. I want to follow Patricia in doing shoutouts to set the tone for what I want to say. First and foremost I want to acknowledge where I currently sit in California is the land of the Yoca peoples and allowing the student body and all the people to exist on their ancestral lands and I also want to say thank you to the Tongva and ‑‑ collaborators I work in my research project in in California, Perry family, Desiree Martinez and other people that have not just worked with me as collaboratorring but really as mentors which have really shaped the way in which I pursue and think about archaeology and of course thank you to critical mission studies for supporting my research and really being involved and taking a serious look at the mission institutions of alta, California, and how they play a major role in structuring heritage discourses, essentially the history of California and finding ways to decenter the colonial history and refocus in on the Indigenous ancestors that occupy that space and creatively subverted it in a number of ways. So I want to say thank you to them.
Yeah, I mean, my research project is a participatory research project that I conducted with members of the Hashman community, Tongva community down in Orange County in southern California and just a sort of brief background of what my research is on so you can kind of understand how this sort of shapes how I think archaeology should be and function in these particular contexts is that are the project initially focused on unpacking the contexts surrounding a massacre at a village during the later stages of the Mexican colonial period in the Santa Ana mountains of Orange County, and how that enduring folklore essentially continues to structure different dialogues around Indigenous history and heritage politics in Orange County. The massacre centered around a group of what were portrayed to be Indigenous fugitives who were sort of viewed as the last of their kind and dying off slowly, and the logic of the massacre at least in the colonial folklore is that they needed to be expunged because they were stealing horses and it was sort of the last logical step of ethnic cleansing for this particular community. And so in working, you know, with the different Indigenous collaborators who sort of moved away from focusing on narratives of micropolitical agency or cultural persistence to talk about fugitive communities and shift to the conversation back to looking at Indigenous power as it manifests in different Indigenous epistemologies as a lens for interpreting not only sort of the heritage discourses that form around the archeological record but the actual history of the ancestors themselves specifically by unpacking different concepts of survivance and transmotion and negative simulations of Indigenous people, to really focus on prosperity rather than sort of some of the more subversive things we like to think about when we talk about fugitivism in terms of bare resistance or things like that, so I’m really happy I can be here to talk about these particular things. Why is this important and why is critical mission studies important, which might be sort of a bizarre step to look at my research in the context of that, since I honestly don’t really examine anything that went on in the missions, but everything that went on outside of it and sort of structured it from the outside in. And that is that the folklore of this particular site from the perspective of land management agencies, historians and then, you know, other sort of public management companies have routinely ignored Indigenous perspectives on telling the story of the site and that absence of Indigenous presence and the storytelling around the folklore has allowed sort of these negative representations of Indigenous people to exist and continue to influence really, really dark perceptions of Indigenous people that continue to exist within discourses of Orange County. For instance, like it’s been reported that the Ku Klux Klan has used the site as an initiation ceremony site, there’s a lot of reciprocal feedback between these sort of negative spaces that are assumed to be about fugitives, tragedy, and ethnic cleansing, and so it’s important to understand that, you know, I’m trying not to abuse this phrase that comes from other activists, but you can’t be a colonial fugitive in your own ancestral homeland. So part of the project and also part of what a lot of Indigenous scholars are doing within critical mission studies is trying to rethink that logic and reassert that presence in that context. And that’s sort of how I view, how archaeology should be practiced in a lot of ways.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Definitely. Thank you for that. I didn’t even notice the sort of overlapping between contemporary communities and organizations like the KKK reappropriating those historical places. That’s a good tie‑in too, I want to bring it back to Patricia to talk a little bit about some of the work you’re doing in Kilombos which we know are these communities established by formerly enslaved Africans who self‑liberated and ran away and we often hear about them historically but not as much archeologically and I’m wondering what is your role as a technical advisor to these living communities today and what sort of work are you doing around that?
>> PATRICIA MARINHO: Well, I prefer to make a small trajectory here of my career accident talk a little bit about my journey as an archaeologist because this explains how I got to this community to work and what this has to do with my work as a around archaeologist, this Quilombola community, and as a Black woman, as a Black archaeologist. I trained as an anthropologist, I did social sciences, I am an anthropologist by degree, by trade, and I worked with Afro‑religious communities. When I went to do my master’s degree, I wanted to work with Quilombola communities because when I went to study archaeology I had this idea that if I studied archaeologists of the Black peoples, I would be reading the documents left by these Black people because as we know, they were slaves, they were taken, everything was taken away from them, people tried to take everything from these Black populations. And the registered records of these populations were written by the people who slaved them. So I had this idea, you know, and I wanted to materialize my research, my archeological research leaving this African religious to go and look at the Quilombola community so did I this project and at the end 69 day I continued working with these two groups, the religious groups of the African religions, as you know, they are very strong here in Brazil, African matrix religions here in Brazil, despite the tolerance of religions that we have, we’ve been facing here since this government that took on the President of Brazil. You know, there was already a bad perception historically since ever, since we arrived, you know, since the first Africans were taken to Brazil as slaves, but after that, after slavery, the persecution continued, bad at some times better at some points, but now it’s declared, it’s very difficult for the African religious practitioners, we’ve been facing a lot of difficulty. That’s why I wanted to bring this context here too.
So I went to work with the remaining Quilombola community, so I left my town in the south of Brazil in São Paulo and I went all the way to the West to the borders of Bolivia to study the remaining Quilomboala communities. Pitch the way I’m sending a kiss to all of you, I miss you All, I worked together for ten years with the Quilombola community that was an organized community where people already had recognition as a remaining Quilombola community and I went there to do a study because in a master’s degree, I came from a hypothesis, if I sound a remaining ‑‑ found a remaining Quilombola community where the lifestyle was very traditional, I would find the attribution of meaning in terms of symbology for elements of nature, you can’t see here now, because my plants are dark, you can’t see my plants, but there is a symbolic meaning for the plants, especially trees, because this meaning would be both for the Quilombola community and the religious community, they would be the same symbology, because there was a sharing of an ancestral African thinking that was transmitted and conveyed through orality. So I went to the community to do this research and I stayed there for ten years. I studied the plants, I studied the trees. I became a good friend of the people. I lived there during my doctorate. I lived in the community, within the community during my doctorate. I created a collaborative archaeology project where I got, there was a project, and it changed as the needs and the desires of the community were, but the context that I presented to them, until then, people lived in traditional homes, in Portuguese these are mud houses, they are made by mud. And I don’t know if you know how to translate it, Paulo, but it’s those mud houses, the traditional mud houses of the community in Brazil. So they didn’t live in these houses anymore, I stayed away from the community for two years, they weren’t in these houses anymore, they had already built concrete houses, so I had to read these records, the archeological records. And then after ten years working and developing my research along with this global communities, after, you know, ten, fifteen years, I can’t even remember, twenty years work with this archaeology of contact archaeology working with the environmental licensing and having contact with these archaeology communities, because there’s different archaeologists that are connected to projects, for example, that will interfere in Quilombola areas or traditional areas or Indigenous areas, in Brazil, it’s a source of knowledge for this remaining Quilombola communities, because there isn’t a lot of research in these areas. I mean, there is very little in archaeology when I started, and imagine now, you know. When I started in archaeology, I only knew one of the Black archaeologists, Rosana and also there was a colleague in the museum who worked with classic archaeologists, so there was only two Black archaeologists, and this was in 2007. Maybe 2008 when I started my master’s degree we federal University of São Paulo, when I started in the University of São Paulo, only 3 percent of the students were Black people. Only 3 percent. Only 3 percent were Black people. Right? This has changed because of the policies that were implanted by the government. So I worked with this community for ten years. I got to see other communities through the work of archaeology and environmental licensing, and it was this work, my work as an archaeologist, I tend to say that there isn’t a separation between my life, my personal life, my real life, me Patricia Rarinho, the mother of Tawee, a singer, and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, from my professional life as an archaeologist. There wasn’t a separation. For me, archaeology was activism. I was actually there doing activism. I was helping with what I could, bringing information, exchanging information, and making this information public. My saint mother, my religious mother once says to me, you know, it’s like I received this entity, and I said I don’t consider myself to be a 100 percent religious person, I’m not dedicated to religion, to religionness, and then the entity said to me, well, your mission is already being accomplished because you’re making our religion known, you are making it from the moment you start to publicize it and start to talk about your religion, it becomes known and then the discrimination starts to diminish. So you’re doing your part. And then after this, all these years work with communities, Quilombola communities, I’m very grateful to be here with this Quilombola remaining communities because I’ve always had this conflict, you know, I’ve always worked with these communities, either via ‑‑ either as an archaeologist or academia and I always used to think to myself but what am I giving back to these communities? You know? Now I’m a doctorate in archaeology, I’ve done my master’s degree and Ph.D. and I’m talking about my culture, right, as a Black person, as a diaspora, African diaspora, but I’m not a Quilombola. So it’s this diaspora. So when my CV was approved to work with the community, one of the things they took into consideration was exactly this trajectory, this journey that I have, along with the Quilombola community as a researcher, as an archaeologist, as a professional from the archaeology field. And now I think that I’m very thankful, I’m very grateful, because I’ve had a direct contribution. I am developing this work with these communities where I have a clear objective, a very transparent objective, which is a bigger interest of the community, it’s the repairing, the reparation, because of the environmental crime that affected these communities, social, environmental crime that affected this community. So I have a very clear objective. I’m helping this community to get to a certain point. So it’s not just me benefiting from this, you know, because our work, they remain, our thesis, our dissertations, they stay. You know, my doctorate thesis that I build with the community, the Quilombola communities, it’s a document. They have for future, I hope this doesn’t happen, but if there is a future dispute because of land, perhaps if they went to try to get the titles, the deed for that land as a collective deed, they already have a doctorate thesis, they have a deed study, archeological, anthropological, ethnological. But this was not enough for me. As an activist, I wanted more and more, and now I’m here with this community, sharing, learning a lot, and sharing with them a little bit about my learning. And the Black archaeology network is the space where this anguish, these desires, these ideas, where all of this moves, you have contact with people, up get to know other ‑‑ you get to know other archaeologists, male and female who are work with communities, Quilombola communities. The network gives us the visibility for ourselves, you know. The moments for ourselves. Even though this small universe of archaeology, at least here in Brazil it’s a small universe, we all know each other, we all know about the Black archaeology network, people hear us, they want to hear us, they want to listen to us, but we have a lot of allies, we have a lot of White people, not in the network. The network is to be representative for Black people, non‑White people can talk, you know. It’s a strengthening space. But it’s also a space for, you know, it’s a strengthening space that I’m creating and mapping at the moment so that I can dialogue and, you know, have this dialogue with the community, the Quilombola communities that I’m working with currently, and with the Black archaeologists network, the specific work in the community k our work with archaeologists, anthropologists, I deal with the mobilization team, the people I mentioned earlier, representatives of the community, leaders in their area who were recommended by the community, voted by the community to be part of the technical consultants because there are lots of people who even though the communities that I work in is an extremely well organized community, they are recognized Quilombola since 2006, they already had an association, a fisherman association actually, extractivism association and self‑recognized Quilombolas. So when they got together to form or to fight against, to fight for their rights and with this environmental crime of Semarco, Valet, et cetera, they already had an association, so within their association we have Quilombolas working there in coordination with jobs, and also this mobilization team that has contact with the community.
So my role is to do the interpretation of technical texts that are produced by the system, created for the reparation of everybody affected, and I do the communication both from the TI to the community, and I also bring to the community, because not everybody is a Quilombola, not everybody has the experience in working with traditional community. So the work I do today is this work of bringing information back and forth, you know. Basically I just work with them fighting for this reparation. I think that’s it.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Those are so many good things to pull from. I just want to again point people to ‑‑
>> PATRICIA MARINHO: I just had like, I had to talk, and I had to tell you a little bit about my journey. I’m not sure if things were clear to you guys. Sorry about that.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: No, definitely, it was very clear and very important. And we have some questions coming up in the chat and I want to encourage more people to add questions into the Q & A function. We also wanted to give a shout out to Paulo, you’re getting lots of praise in the chat for your ability to translate with such quality and so quickly. So thank you. Yeah, but that brings us to, not only impacts communities but the research questions we ask and the projects we take on are a direct result of the issues in the community. I’m actually coming to you from traditional Choctaw and Creek land here in mobile, Alabama, in the Africatown community which was founded by descendants who came off of the slave ship the Clotilda from West Africa from Benine and literally earlier today we had to stop excavations because we were coming across asbestos in the soil in large quantities and large numbers and the community itself is dealing with issues of environmental racism and dealing with issues of even conversations around starting community gardens now become problematic because they could be planting in contaminated soil. Had so I think it’s important we continue to link those and find ways that we as archaeologists can contribute to the conversations. And with that said, Jeannette, I want to pivot to you as well, in Europe. Over the last six months and beyond, there’s been a lot of action and conversation around statues and monuments and whether or not some should stand and others should go and what should happen to them. And I’m wondering, you know, how research, particularly around the organization you’re involved with and maybe your own research has shifted or is shifting to tackle these conversations, not only around how we reinterpret sites, but maybe how we also get rid of and even question the needs to have monuments in the first place.
>> JEANNETTE PLUMMER SIRES: It’s been quite a tricky conversation regarding heritage and what it means to erect a statue for someone. The backlash to the toppling of the statue of Edward Colster in the summer, who was a known slaver, but Bristol celebrated the history of Colston as a philanthropist what they omitted was a lot of that philanthropy was possible by his involvement with the slave trade. Community organizers have been petitioning to have these statues removed, plaques removed, names changed, and it culminated in the summer with activists toppling one of his statues and throwing it in the harbor. That has created a lot of very fierce backlash in England particularly, across Europe there’s been movements to topple other symbols of colonial oppression, in Belgium, for example, it was regarding statues of King Leopold the second two committed absolute atrocities in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, here, and it provided an opportunity, all these conversations have provided an opportunity for heritage institutions, for museums to reinterpret their collections, and it has agan scholars, Black scholars, archaeologists, a really great opportunity to work with communities and even local authorities. Unfortunately just last month, there was new legislation passed that has actually made this a lot more difficult, and it’s legislation that is in complete response to what happened, and this new legislation accords special protection to all types of statues, even if they haven’t been designated as a heritage asset here in the UK, they have a system for protecting heritage assets.
I wrote it down because it was a lot. The community secretary Robert Jenreg, he made a statement about this new legislation and the importance of it because it would prevent statues from being removed, and I quote, on a whim at the behest of a baying mob, that’s how he referred to the activists who removed the statue of Edwin Colsten and it’s problematic for reasons, not the least because it’s giving ‑‑ this legislation means that any decision to give any alteration to a plaque with someone’s name on it or April statue, any of such division ‑‑ a statue, any of such decision would ultimately rest on the Secretary of State, effectively. And problematic for many reasons, alarming nationalistic implications, but also because it’s made it a lot more difficult for scholars and individuals to work with communities, local communities. Prior to this, local authorities could make such decisions. And it would mean that, you know, you can speak to community members and which are not necessarily ‑‑ that may come from marginalized groups. Now that’s been made very, very difficult. It’s a particular blow to some of the research and the work that’s been going on particularly in the last six months because there’s been a huge reckoning, there’s been lots of institutions, cultural institutions that have actually reached out to experts in terms of how they have historically talked about people, objects, collections. So it’s created more obstacles, but it’s quite indicative as well as to sort of how the fierce reactionary take that the current government is taking on some of these actions. And it’s been really interesting to hear about all these different collectives and the similar obstacles that we’re facing even in different parts of the world. But it’s also been really inspiring to hear everyone’s passion. I find that it’s, you know, quite invigorating to see that we’re all, even though we haven’t met before, we’re all in different spaces, different communities, but we’re still working in the same, you know, we still have the same objectives. So this has been really great. I just wanted to say that.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Thank you. Thank you for that. And I want to take this opportunity as well to open the conversation up to all the panelists, and if you have questions for each other, to ask those questions. I’m wondering particularly I’m thinking about Lewis some of your work regarding UNESCO and the sort of possibilities and limitations of even large he multinational organizations in terms of policing or unpolicing some of these policies and if you have comments on that.
>> LEWIS BORCK: Yeah, I do. I do. I’m going on try not to get myself in hot water with my career here as well because I mean, I think in terms of, you know, long lasting equitable change, do I see like these large multinational organizations like UNESCO as having like a net positive impact, my pretty rapid answer to that would be no. And it’s not because I don’t think they have the intentions for that, it’s that I don’t think that sort of top‑down organizing can have a long term net positive impact, and I think I’m speaking for a lot of the collective members on that as well, but I don’t want to put words in their mouth on this and put them at odds with UNESCO if they’re doing a project with them or anything.
But one of anarchism’s positions is that change really needs to be bottom up and it’s this idea of prefiguration, right? It’s that the means that you conduct, and I know this isn’t unique to anarchism anyway, it’s really strongly held within Indigenous organization and Black organization as well, the meanings that you go about, the process that you go about trying to create change fundamentally informs and is replicated into the ends, and it’s sort of the opposite of the ends, you know, justify the means. So having a large multinational organization dictate change if a field, it’s likely to see an impact, but I don’t know if it’s necessarily going to be a long‑term positive one. So when we’re looking at like the history of really dramatic equitable change in the U.S., we don’t really see the government leading this, right? Civil rights were organized and fought for on the streets by like the Black Panthers, Malcolm X, king’s cohort, women of the Kahambe river collective, LGBTQ plus community at stone wall and then on the streets every year after that, at families’ homes at every dinner, that’s where change really happened, it came from the bottom up, from our houses, from our conversations, from our collective organizing.
And I think once we make that change happen, these large organizations will often encode it. So they give kind of a semblance of authority or authenticity which sync a completely different conversation to have as well. And as you mentioned, I wrote about this a bit and it’s been in dialogue with Cornelius Holtorf who is UNESCO Chair of heritage features and he’s interested in prefiguration and how UNESCO might use that to create equitable futures and based on my research and other research he’s found, and my response to him was as long as we essentially have states filling in as representatives of marginalized communities in these institutions like UNESCO, we won’t really see representation within those decision‑making sessions or even in the archeological record how they represent it. We’ll continue to see states mostly re‑created into the past. And I think one of the more powerful things UNESCO could do would be to step out of this role by raising marginalized communities up to have equal voting rights as the states that they’re subsudent, so Havizipta represented, I realize that’s a multiethnic group and have Dine rep with equal voting rights and other equal voting rights to the Mexican rep and then a lot of these places are really fundamentally linked to decision‑making through a majority vote pattern, right? Instead of through like consensus decision‑making. And I think even, you know, obviously I’m in the U.S., from my accent for the few who don’t know me, I should make that clear, but as we’ve seen in the U.S. and globally, majority voting arguably is inequitable, right? We end up with these problematic leadership patterns when you have one group thinking that 51 percent margin means they can do whatever they want regardless of what the smaller groups do and of course if you’re not in a majority voting block within that population, you’re stuck, basically, right? So I think a lot of these organizations, if they fundamentally reenvision who has power, who has power over the past, really in that aspect who has power over the future, I guess, as well, and in terms of states not being in the primary role, even just through consultation with communities, that’s a small step forward that UNESCO has made, but it’s not going to significantly transform archaeology or heritage until I think we see it, you know, rising up of who actually has a voice.
And more importantly it’s not going on really significantly transform the histories that we as archaeologists valorize if states make the decisions about what those are. Does that kind of answer?
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Yeah, definitely, that’s a good answer. I don’t know if other people want to jump in, but one question I did have related to that then is the inverse then, how do we as sort of smaller communities imagine and reimagine our commemorative spaces, our archaeology sites, our heritage sites, outside of the state structure, since this is fugitive archeological spaces? Some of it I know has been renaming, Patricia some of your work around doing historic tree registry and looking at these culturally significant trees. What sort of ways have you all seen as ways to move beyond the limitations of the state in terms of recognizing our sites and observing our sites ‑‑ preserving our sites? Or would you like to see, if it doesn’t exist already? That’s open to anybody.
>> PATRICIA MARINHO: Are you talking to me? Okay. Then what I think, let’s think a little bit about Brazilian current situation. As you all know, those of you especially in the United States, I think you know how the situation is in Brazil. Not necessarily clear, but you have an idea of what we have been dealing with with the current government and what we see is all our rights falling, all our rights being taken away, political persecution, but what you were talking about in terms of the potential of the Black archaeology when people organize themselves and people get together to unite themselves to create Black archaeology society, community, the potential of this union is transformative because what’s going on is that we archaeologists, both male ‑‑ both male and female Black archaeologists, we have been looking for a new way of looking at archaeology, A, a look that’s centered on our own research. So I think we need to change the way we view it to get out of this racism that we experience in our research, this erecentrism that the Brazilian academia embraces. You know, taking away the perspectives of the Black researchers with affirmative actions, these Black researchers should be growing in numbers more and more. The number of Black researchers should be growing. And I think the strength of the organizations, especially self‑management, as we were talking about anarchism, I consider this should be self‑management. And I think this is important because the role of the archaeologists in this remaining Quilombola communities, the ethics that we have to work with, the knowledge and the voice that we can’t take away from the Quilombola people, during my ten years of research in the remaining Quilombola community, I have tried several alternative ways of developing my research in terms of methodology, new visions. It was a collaborative archaeology project, you know. So since raising funds to the development of research with the organizations, the states, the entities, the financing, research financing companies, it wasn’t enough to do the development of research that we need to do. And the money isn’t enough. So I’m just giving you example here. When a doctorate grant, it’s not even enough for you to meet your daily needs in terms of expenses. Imagine if you need to go out and do your field work or academic research, so we’re looking for alternative ways to raise funds, for example, during the project I developed a research, I developed a project, within my own research project I created the ACARAJ in archaeology, those of you that don’t know, it’s a African food, deep fried cake, a Cara is typical African food and in Brazil they developed the Brazilian acaraj which has a filling inside also with typical African food, traditional African food. So it was a way of having a dialogue, as couldn’t bring the Acaraja, to inside academia to talk about their culture, to fight for the rights, to break the academic hierarchy, so I brought in the Acaraj to try to establish dialogue and look for alternative ways of doing archaeology. So I think the archaeologists both male and female Black archaeologists, if they are organized and who develop their research, specially ‑‑ especially in remaining Quilombola communities and live in communities, but even thinking of the material culture, which is in the museums, the materiality that is in these museums, this vision can’t be the way it was before in the first generations of archaeologists, they should look at these communities, because we weren’t in the academia back then, you know, to give our opinion. So we were just arriving now in academia in large volumes, in bigger volumes than before, and we have to fight for this. Just to give an idea, there is an archaeologist who was part of our network, Laura, she developed research, she works with racial issues in archaeology. So her master’s disstation ‑‑ dissertation is tied to archeo‑poetry. So archeo‑poetry, communist proposal. So she involved racial issues into research, and then obviously she came across this data issue, she couldn’t find enough data about Black researchers in the archaeology, so she went to look for this information no conferences and looking for it in companies. So more than 450 as authorize were identified. But only eleven were identified as non‑White. So 95 percent of the authors of archaeologist still come from a hegemonic racial place in term of publicity. So I think to print this content centered in your research is very important. It will be a change for the African diasporic populations. That’s it, Justin.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Nate, you unmuted, you had a comment?
>> NATHAN ACEBO: Yes. I completely agree with what Patricia is saying and I think another important step would be to give a shout out to an article written recently focusing on an aspect of sort of undisciplining archaeology which come from this article that recently came out in ARQ from snide and her Kathryn haze which is a great read, check that out, this idea of working towards, I mean, exploring the limits of what we can do in term of decolonization because I think a loft us are coming the sort of limits of what that term can actually mean in archeological practice and trying to carve out space not only within academia but within the figurative universities, research partnerships to create new flexible ways of really truly integrating Indigenous or Black epistemologies or ontologies in the way in which we practice archaeology or sort of relay information through archaeology unconventionally. You know, for instance in like my own work, I mean, this really sort of takes center stage in a lot of ways where, you know, we’re trying to sort of rethink. Like we talk about this concept of fugitivism, a lot of it is working back and unpacking what it might mean to the community and how can they subvert that narrative that exists about this particular heritage site, the massacre that I mentioned earlier in the text. And part of that is pulling from, you know, different particular cultural knowledge within the community and also pairing that with new sort of ‑‑ not new, but sort of existing bodies of Indigenous knowledge that existed let’s say Native American Studies, ethnic study, whatever, and bring them into dialogue with each other in the way in which we can create new questions around the research project that sort of exists within that set of knowledge and then answer questions that are relative to that set of knowledge. So we talk a lot about things like in terms of providing capacity building services, creating grants, you know, creating opportunities for employment through the project or creating mapping projects, information as a way of creating pedagogical devices for those communities but also ways in which we can sort of combat against different land management incursions into those spaces and all that’s great, but a sort of deeper engagement with different Indigenous epistemologies or Black epistemologies as sort of the base structure for all of that really enhances those programs in different ways, it makes it more relevant to the community at the beginning rather than sort of something that’s sort of a progressive program that sort of developed at the end of it.
And of course like this goes back to what Sim and Kathryn were talking about in their article of how these things sort of bend the principles of what it means to be an academic in a lot of ways, but try of ways of focus from those epistemological stakeholders and relating it to other Indigenous epistemologies or Black epistemologies from a global perspective is one way we can restructure or pull apart or sort of disrupt a lot of these concepts, like even the concept of this panel when we’re talking about fugitivism I feel uncomfortable about it even talking about it in my work because there are certainly fugitive that is were running away from the missions and ranchos during the time but when we focus on different epistemologies like survivance or thriveances, the community members have sort of retermed it in a way, it forces this examination of prosperity that removes these sort of traditional archeological notions about what fugitivism or being a maroon might have been, there’s a sort of traditional examination of culture contact or cultural persistence in these areas, but few attentions to this sort of inherent prosperity that these communities retain and sort of the political autonomy that they retain and reproduce in these settings. And, you know, like in my research was focused on that as sort of the starting point sort of denies all these narratives that we might tie to fugitives like victimry and so forth to create programs that are sensitive to it. So I think there needs to be this fluctuating almost transnational connection between, transnational Indigenous epistemologies, Black epistemologies and those of our local collaborators to really build something really productive.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Yeah, that’s wonderful. I dropped the arm in the chat as well, a link to it, so people can see. I know a lot of these things are behind pay walls, but if you do enough Google searching, you can usually find a copy that you need to get, just in the spirit of fugitive spaces, there’s always ways around these things.
It brings up a number of interesting points and connections, particularly I’m thinking b I’ve been looking a lot around these relationships between Indigenous archaeology and Black archaeology through conversations of Indigenous Studies and Black studies, and similar conversations in Black studies have also talked about want need to undiscipline Black studies, and Fred Moten, Sylvia Winter and some of these people talk about the fact that the very origins of these now disciplines was from community organizing work and dealing with issues directly in communities, and then the universities and these institutions through various means have absorbed pieces of it and then coopted the agenda of it so there’s a need to undiscipline it again to retain what the original intention and is origins of these means are, so I think that’s important to keep in mind.
I wanted to point also to some of thee questions in the chat. There’s a question here or comment from Kevin Farmer asking about or wish to go bring about the attention of Caribbean archaeologists as a component within this larger conversation around African diaspora archaeology and I would even argue within Indigenous archaeology as well. Oftentimes we don’t put those two in conversation in the Caribbean, I think in the ways that we should, but it’s a crucial component, and I would like to point to the fact that there are a number of initiatives that we are working on through the Society of Black Archaeologists to try to expand out more fully and more internationally. So thanks to the work of Gabby Hartman who many of you all know through Nigarquea and other colleagues, they were able to put together a call, representing maroon, Martinique ‑‑ colonized by the French and other islands and Haiti as well and have these conversations around what is it that they see as potentials in their areas of study, what questions need to be addressed, and then also having that trans‑Atlantic conversation around what are some of the issues that diaspora face in connecting with continental and then continent faces with connect with diaspora.
And I’m wondering too from Indigenous perspectives some of those questions as well around international collaborations, how they come to bear.
I know we, myself and others, draw heavily from scholars like Wantiango representing Kenya and other places but to what extent do Indigenous archaeology or Indigenous Studies pull from the work that other Indigenous scholars are doing? Also what is that conversation looking like in places like Brazil where you have Indigenous archaeologists also emerging in similar underrepresented numbers alongside Black archaeologists? A lot of questions in one thing, I apologize, but whoever wants to tease that apart.
Or if nobody wants to. I see Patricia. Did you want to say something?
>> PATRICIA MARINHO: I didn’t understand very well what was the question. Has the Indigenous archaeology been talking to the Black archaeologists? Is that right?
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Yeah, in the context of Brazil, is that occurring now?
>> PATRICIA MARINHO: No, I could say that it isn’t. This dialogue, you know, it happens individually, this dialogue, this approximation between the Indigenous archaeology and the Black archaeology, because what happens with the Brazilian archaeology, it’s very recent, the research in Afro‑diasporical areas. For example, to give an example, in the ’80s, there was a first work in the state of Minigerize an archaeologist Carlos Magno did a first study, this only happened in the ’80s, and from there on, the process of diaspora archaeology in Brazil was a very slow process. So I think only from the beginning of the 2000s, you know, perhaps when I graduated in my master’s degree was in 2012, I remember that in 2012 when I participated in archaeology Congresses, it was when I started to see an increase of volume of studies that were Afro‑diasporical. Before that, it was very limited, the researchers were always the same, were producing, et cetera. And especially Afro‑diasporic archaeology there were things thought of by Black people and studied by Black people. This is very recent, you know. I think I’m one of the first ones, programs the first one or one of the first ones. For example, in archaeology, in Black archaeology, I’m one of the first Black archaeologists. You know, other archaeologists were already working, but for Afro‑diasporic, Quilombola, within this context of religion groups, this is all very recent, but obviously this dialogue between Afro‑diasporic archaeology employ Indigenous archaeology in before Brazil, this dialogue, if it’s not happening, it’s taken too long, it should be happening, we need to put our efforts together. The Black population, we are united in other battlefields, in our daily survival here in Brazil, so the tendency is for this to get closed, you know, the ‑‑ on get close. The Black archaeology network now that we’re doing this mapping it we started, the questions that we wanted to raise and everything, we’ve sent the questionnaire forward, so soon we’ll have some results, and it will be published. Soon you’re going to have access to that.
But now as we’re doing this in terms of organization, like harder, heavier organization, you know, we’re going to have this profile. And the network and profile in the network, there are many Black archaeologists, male and female, united in this network, so I can see the potential of expansion and dialogue with the Indigenous archaeology, even though, you know, we are fighting for the same things, you know, our inclusion, the epistemology for our representation, so that our epistemology is considered. Because if you think about the academic structure, even within this academic structure, alternative archaeologists by Quilombola communities and Indigenous communities, are not very well seen by our professors, our older professors, obviously I left University, I finished my Ph.D., I might go back there in the future, but those Black archaeologists who are starting now, you know, they are already starting with this Afrocentricity, I see people are really excited, I can see a lot of energy in the organization in terms of collective Black people, and I can see this with good eyes. I think this approximation between the Indigenous and the Black people, we just need to book a meeting and talk to these people, you know. We need to promote this and foster this. Let’s talk to the Black archaeology people to get involved in this debate and dialogue more about this and be part, you know, have access to this archaeology collective, Indigenous archaeology collectives. That’s it, I think.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: No, thank you for that. Somebody in the questions and comments mention haded, according to my Google translation, I tried to translate their answer into English, they mention a lot of these affirmative action policies are beginning to have a shift and to increase representation in these areas or assisting in that process. And I’m wondering too, that ties into another question that an audience member had about the power or potential of labor organizing in archaeology as a tool to create larger epistemological or social transformation. So if we take this from a sort of labor organizing perspective, dealing with issues of the fact of underpay on certain projects, the idea of, you know, underpaying faculty as well or shifting to this model of going to adjunct faculty, tenured faculty, how we could think about this as a larger labor question and potentially have some of these changes enacted.
>> LEWIS BORCK: I would be happy to ‑‑
>> PATRICIA MARINHO: Oh, I’m sorry.
>> LEWIS BORCK: No, you can go ahead.
>> PATRICIA MARINHO: Okay. I just wanted to compliment something here, to talk about the Brazilian context because I hadn’t really understood if it was a question, in Portuguese, I don’t know, but what’s happening here, we can see, we can feel that the organizations and the popular movements have been stronger, have been getting stronger, because when there is a condition where want society is put against the wall, you know, as it’s happening with the Brazilian society with this regression that we are facing, with this retro, going back in terms of public policies, going backwards in research, I mean, research in Brazil is terrible at the moment.
So to think, we have to think of alternative policies, self‑management, because if we depend on the state, the state in Brazil is going really badly. Academic research, scientific research in Brazil is going really badly. That’s it.
>> LEWIS BORCK: Thank you, Patricia. In terms of ‑‑ and I think honestly that intersects pretty strongly with this idea of labor organizing and labor rights within archaeology too because that’s sort of a bottom up approach to contesting institutional and state power. And in the Q & A I see Mick Concke also asked how feminism has informed a lot of this and there’s another question about what capacity building is as well and I think there’s a pretty strong intersect between what does it mean to organize labor in archaeology, in particular because poverty itself within our discipline is essentially one of these huge fugitive spaces that we don’t talk about that is massively I think intersecting a lot of the communities that are marginalized and historically excluded from the discipline as well.
I know one of the goals that we had with the microgrants project was to essentially approach this from a non‑violent, take a non‑violent approach to this. And this is really coming out of a lot of anarchal feminist movements and positions as well, basically this idea that it’s not obviously unique to have either, but you shouldn’t have to perform your pain in any way, shape or form to be able to be successful, right? You should be able to functionally move through our discipline from, you know, student through professional without having to kind of open up these raw wounds over and over, which a lot of times our granting systems, whether it’s through the discipline itself or through the state, require, right?
This kind of organizing of labor within archaeology helps us to one buffer up our base pay that we’re getting, within it’s within commercial archaeology or whether it’s limiting adjuncts and at least moving into lecture contract and lecture positions. We really need to sort of address that because it heavily impacts, particularly I think as we’ve seen with the pandemic, parents, particularly women, who have young children that have been hugely impacted by this, both in term of productivity as well as financial stability. I know for myself, this is just speaking to myself, Wnt to a wonderful program, but ‑‑ I went to a wonderful program, and grad school, but even at that wonderful program, the fugitive space of poverty for me was complicated, right? Because you don’t really talk about your financial well‑being with anybody. You’re really uncomfortable and for those of us who aren’t in countries where you have to take out loans to go to school, I’m jealous of you all, but we don’t talk about that generally within archaeology, so this sort of loan taking and your income is this fugitive space, that it would be great if we amplified, and maybe not amplified, that’s the wrong word, if we made transparent for those who are comfortable doing that.
I mean, I broke the law regularly when I was in grad school because of my financial situation, and it wasn’t like I was holding up a bank or anything like that to get money, but one of the things I did, and this is part of some anarchist community practices anyway, is dumpster diving for food, right? And this is one way that I helped feed my family through grad school.
And this is illegal, nobody puts signs up saying please trespass and take food, so I regularly ran into state representatives, right, the police while doing this, and on top of that, you know, poverty is baked into our system in a lot of ways. So to be able to get by, you often are managing state resources. And if anyone has been on any sort of welfare system in the U.S., it’s at least a part‑time job, if not a full‑time job to stay on that system, which I was on during grad school. Between WID checks, women, infant children checks are with my wife and I and our kid, just the pain of having to go through to buy food with these things, that people behind you are complaining about, and then just having to constantly demonstrate that you’re actually poor, like every three months, you know. It’s pressure to fit into certain situations.
And I think one of the things that is like powerful is if we are able to, you know, create these like heterogenous organizations, these heterogenous collectives, like Justin, you guys with the SBA and Ora and Sara are doing with the IAC, we’re starting to pull together all these intersecting concerns and center them, and help people actually move up, right, and move through the discipline in a less fugitive and less violent pattern.
So for a lot of my colleagues, my female colleagues who are parents in grad school, I know this has been a huge issue for them that has driven many of them out of the discipline as well.
So I just see it as like, I don’t know, I don’t want to say like the raising water raises all boats or whatever, because, you know, as meg was asking again, intersectionality clearly is hugely changed how we think about all of the issues we run into. So going to the old, you know, 1890s, 1900 communist and anarchist sayings that if you fix income inequalities, you fix everything, well, that’s clearly not remote am the case. But it’s really hard for a lot of community members to say I’m going on give up a decent‑paying job to go in and get a degree in archaeology, which I love but get paid less and not be able to help support my family. So it’s huge for capacity building, I think.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Thank you for that contribution. That’s really important that we continue to center the sort of realities of what it is to be a student in this field, to work in this field, in all its different capacities. I sometimes have to discourage people from entering into it for some of those very reasons, and people are interestingly enough, I’m always blown away by ways in which people encourage others to enter it, knowing what they could be getting into and what those circumstances are. So I think one by one, we can begin to change it, at least from that perspective.
And I encourage everybody again to check out the Black Trowel Collectivees microgrants. Correct me if I’m wrong, Lewis, it is international, anybody can apply from any country around the world, if you need financial assistance?
>> LEWIS BORCK: Yes, that’s correct.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: And if you don’t need financial assistance, please contribute to that fund and offer funding for those who do need. I know I made my contribution last month.
>> LEWIS BORCK: Yes, it was much appreciated, Justin, thank you.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Thank you. We’re glad to see it move forward. With that said, I know we have about fifteen minutes left and I kind of want to ask a critical question that will cover some of the questions in the audience questions. And that’s, what sort of collaborations do we see moving forward? What do we think is most important, ways in which our organizations are trying to expand and based on the conversations we’ve seen today or some of the trends we’ve seen, ways that we can move forward. I’ll just start off very quickly by saying that this week we’re doing Black and Archaeology Week, so if you go on social media and you type in the hashtag Black and Archaeology Week, you’ll see a whole host of events and information and content around Black and archaeology, including this event. We’ve also partnered with I think almost every organization on this panel, so different aspects of the week are contributing to that as well. There’s Black and bio anth week, which is also happening now, so we have biological anthropologists from all over the world that are contributing in on that, and for instance, our end in SBA we want to continue to bring in the international component and hear from, learn from and collaborate with our colleagues abroad and see how we can really build out things we’ve already started like our oral history program, our field school offerings, potentially in the future scholarship and field offerings as well, if anyone else would like to chime in and talk about futures that they would like to see. Jeannette, did you want to say something, or was an accident? That was a double tap?
>> JEANNETTE PLUMMER SIRES: I would like to see some of our initiatives moving forward, particularly when it comes to schools and engagement with younger children. One of the groups that we like that are quite exciting, they’re not within archaeology, but they’re more about education, and it’s the Black children ‑‑ I believeeth called, and it’s about just helping school teachers develop curriculums about Black British history that at the moment they’re having to do off their own backs without the adequate resources. I also am really excited about initiatives regarding healing for individuals doing this kind of work, and sort of the emotional toll that it takes to sometimes work in these spaces and deal with these histories. And taking a real good look at how that work impacts us as individuals, and this is work that’s going on last for the rest of our lives, right? So it’s about not burning ourselves out and being able to lean on each other as well. So these are aspects that I’m really excited about as we’re moving forward.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Thank you for that. Go ahead, Nate.
>> NATHAN ACEBO: Just a couple things and this goes back to that very long question that you had answered earlier too ‑‑ or asked earlier. First thing, I mean, I think a lot of us have partnerships with land management agencies and stuff like that, but institutions that have, you know, access to space, like actual land is incredibly important in creating access to that is something that I think is fundamental to any of these programs. I mean, there’s plenty of other institutional resources in term of funding, service learning, all that stuff is important, but at least like when I think especially within the context of Indigenous archaeology is finding spaces for us to create things through the project that creates space for communities to get access to the land again in a new way, beyond doing archaeology and stuff like that, like different forms of access. And something that sort of goes along with this idea of connections between different sort of thinkers beyond archaeology and Indigenous and sort of Black scholar settings is that, you know, I find myself more and more driven to finding new ways to connect with Indigenous artists in my work and trying to not read so much anthropology or social stuff and really dive deeply into the space of Indigenous artwork, Indigenous fiction, things like that, so forming connections with those creative producers in different ways I think is incredibly important not just as a means of supporting them, but also way of transforming a discipline that is fundamentally at the end of the day we’re all interested in material culture, and finding new ways to explore dimensions of let’s just say afro, or Indigenous futurity through comic books, video games, different things. There’s so many interesting things that are emerging even during this time where we’re all sequestered at home where these different communities and activists are producing in these unique ways which is really transformed the way in which we pursue different forms of interpretation or analysis and sort of reshape the way in which we want to tell stories through archaeology, since they’re certainly telling, no offense, in my opinion, generally more interesting stories through that material medium than we often do.
And so I would say those connections are really important going forward.
>> LEWIS BORCK: I just want to highlight or maybe like second that as well. I’m really lucky to be in New Mexico and Albuquerque, which is the home to the Indigenous Comicon and there’s a ton of amazing Indigenous comic artists here so following on what Nathan is talking about, a lot of the storytelling and transmission of histories and information that’s happening outside of archaeology and much better than how we’re doing it within archaeology. So that’s something that I’ve been exploring as well, particularly with my colleague Jason Garcia, who is an amazing ceramicist who has basically been telling the story of the Pueblo revolt through pottery and ceramic tiles through the last fifteen years.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Wonderful. Wonderful. Patricia, did you have any ideas about what the future of collaboration is between Negrarqueo and other organizations, or ‑‑
>> PATRICIA MARINHO: Contribution with Negrarqueo, with other Brazilian communities, is that right? Yes, yes, this is what I’m talking about here. From the beginning, actually, I’m really excited about this mapping of knowledge, but the network in it’s, I’m just going to talk about the network. The network is a space of strengthening. To give you an idea, look at my situation, for example. I’m a doctor in archaeology, I did a master’s degree, I did my degree, I did my Ph.D. in the University of São Paulo, and I am here needing a translator to participate in this event, right? So we have a linguistic barrier, plus here in Brazil we have this linguistic barrier with the language because we have hegemony that’s academic, all the texts that we read about the diaspora, I told you, everything here in Brazil, it started in the ’80s, so what we started to read about the African diaspora, the archaeology of the African diaspora is produced in the United States. So it’s a struggle because our origin, the majority of people here, there obviously will be people who are non‑White that have had a good condition to study, they were able to study and learn the language and stuff, but the universe is already selected. You know, the academic universe is very selective. But if you’re looking at the Brazilian society, then the Black population doesn’t have access to language courses, for example. So this is a basic problem, initial problem, but Black archaeology network that’s well structured can resolve that, right? For example, for me to participate in this activity, the person who helped me, who gets all the translation and everything and the bureaucracy was Gabby. And as is prepared to help other people, to translate documents and et cetera. So within the archaeology network we can strengthen each other in this way. So first of all I’m thinking of the strengthening of the network itself and then I can think of partners, of partners for the activities. I think that we need this bigger organization so that we can go on to other things, thinking of flying to other places, thinking of other strategies. But the partnerships are more necessary because as I said, we can’t count on the state, it’s actually good, in my ‑‑ in my point of view, this state is a failed state, actually. The transformation has to be much more at the base, at the base of the society. The archaeologists are not dislocated from their society, so we have to think of political transformation and et cetera, and I’m also in favor of self‑management, that yes, we should make partnerships, we have to think of alternative ways of developing research that is not so violent epistemologically speaking, for those to develop the research, for the Black students, but also for those who participate in the research to ensure the effective participation of the communities with more symmetry in the relationships. So in the case of the Black archaeology network, the forethinking of these partnerships, if anybody has ideas, I’ll talk about it, but first of all, we need to become structured ourselves, give condition to our own people, you know, helping to translate a text, putting together some money for someone to participate in the Congress, to participate in the panels, of defense of thesis, I can see this organic way of strengthening the Black community. And this expands as we go, because our people are full of energy, you know, we know people arrive with energy and we have to take into consideration the generational factors. I always remember my friend Laura Donna talking to me about transversealities and generational issues. Because they’re very different. For example, I’m 49 years old. The process of training, this has to do, you know, my age, my generation, I’m from a different generation. You know, I was part of the 3 percent. I don’t know what the percentage of Black students at the University in São Paulo, but we know that with the positive policies this number has increased but I’m part that 3 percent of Black students, so this really has changed nowadays, you know, there is this young people, these people are coming in with strength, with a different way of thinking, an Afro‑centered way of thinking, because when I started, when I started to do my research, the Afro‑centris of my theory was much more of a life experience Afrocentrism as a Black woman, so I always took my experiences as a Black woman to academia, I’ve already taken it to wherever I went, to the Quilombola, as myself, I’ve always taken my life experience. That’s the exchange when we’re thinking of symmetry of relationships, it’s this exchange of experiences, of the communities, the researcher can’t be someone who goes to community as our professors, our ancestral professors. The relationships have changed. So I think that each context of development of work, of archaeologists, both male and female, has to be experimented, has to be visualized in each context so that the partnerships can be done in the possible best ‑‑ the best possible way. I think this is the panorama I see in Brazil, in the Black archaeology network for the partnerships, for the collaboration, in current times.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: That was a beautiful way to summarize this panel, and I think that’s critical. In the spirit of organizing, I took many notes, and I’m sure we will continue to revert back into our groups and continue to think about and strategize ways to organize, particularly around this idea of increasing representation in the places it needs to be increased, increasing accessibility, providing more fiduciary ways for people to get involved through funding and more monetary support, and then I think we’re at a place now in archaeology where we no longer have to argue for the need of collaborative archaeology, and we can really begin to think about experimenting, as Patricia said, about some new ways to imagine the most effective ways of collaboration and engagement. And I think you may have coined a new term with the, what was it, Acaragy, archaeology.
If we can think about the ‑‑
>> PATRICIA MARINHO: Well, when you come to Brazil, you have to come here and we’ll acaraje. To you want to visit Brazil, you’re invited.
>> JUSTIN DUNNAVANT: Yes, thank you. With that said, I want to close the panel and say thank you all again for being a part of this experience. We will continue to have these conversations offline. We would like to also thank all the funders and sponsors for this organization, particularly thankment UC Santa Cruz archeological Research Center for the hosting of this panel and we encourage everybody to check out the next panel in our series, which will be titled: The fire this time, Black and Indigenous ecologies, which will be held March 3 at 4:00 p.m. eastern standard time. This time, March 3rd. So again, thank you all, please continue to enjoy the rest of the events with the hashtag Black and Archaeology Week and Black and bioanth week and we look forward to talking to you more in the future.
(The webinar has concluded).
(6:02 p.m. EST)
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