Anthropology Magazine

Podcast Season 4 — Our Past Is the Future

Podcast Season 4 — Our Past Is the Future

A swirl of dots converging on the phrase "Our Past is the future" also in a circle.


Searching for sunken slave ships. Preserving sacred sites. Challenging narratives. Uncovering hidden histories. This season on the podcast, SAPIENS explores how Black and Indigenous voices are changing the stories archaeology tells. Through an array of deep dives, interviews, and storytelling, we re-center the stories of our pasts to orient us toward a new future.

We invite you to listen and learn with our hosts Dr. Ora Marek-Martinez and Yoli Ngandali on their journey to explore why these stories matter—how archaeology is not just about who we were but about who we are and who we can become.


The SAPIENS podcast is an editorially independent series supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation and produced by House of Pod, created this season in partnership with the Society of Black Archaeologists and Indigenous Archaeology Collective. A companion series to expand on these conversations titled “SAPIENS Talk Back” is being produced by the Archaeology Centers Coalition in collaboration with Cornell University’s RadioCIAMS.

Interested in using this season’s episodes in the classroom? Discover these new Teaching SAPIENS units on Black Archaeologies and Indigenous Archaeologies.

Season 4 Hosts

Dr. Ora Marek-Martinez (she/her/asdzáá) is a citizen of the Diné Nation, she’s also Nez Perce. As the executive director of the Native American Cultural Center, her work includes supporting and ensuring the success of Northern Arizona University Native American and Indigenous students through Indigenized programming and services. As an assistant professor in Northern Arizona University’s anthropology department, her research interests include Indigenous archaeology and heritage management, research and approaches that utilize ancestral knowledge, and decolonizing and Indigenizing methodologies and storytelling in the creation of archaeological knowledge to reaffirm Indigenous connections to land and place. Ora is a founding member of the Indigenous Archaeology Coalition.

Yoli Ngandali (she/her/hers) is a member of the Ngbaka Tribe from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a Ronald E. McNair fellow, and a Ph.D. candidate in archaeology at the University of Washington. Her research interests span archaeologies of colonialism, Indigenous archaeology, archaeologies of Central Africa, trans-Indigenous traditions of culture sharing, Black and Indigenous futurity, digital conservation science, remote sensing, and multi-spectral imaging. Yoli’s doctoral dissertation develops digital and community-based participatory research approaches to Indigenous art revitalization within museum settings and highlights Indigenous carving traditions in the Pacific Northwest.

Season 4 Sponsors

  • Imago Mundi Fund at Foundation for the Carolinas
  • Cornell Institute of Archaeology and Material Studies
  • Denver Museum of Nature & Science
  • University of California, San Diego, Scripps Center for Marine Archaeology
  • University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology
  • Brown University Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
  • University of Massachusetts, Boston, Fiske Center
  • University of California, Berkeley, Archaeological Research Facility
  • University of Colorado, Denver, Department of Anthropology
  • University of Arizona School of Anthropology


Guided by the Past

Hosts Dr. Ora Marek-Martinez and Yoli Ngandali share how they found their way to archaeology and what it means to be Black and Indigenous archaeologists. From defying the status quo in a classroom to diving through sunken ships, Ora and Yoli bring listeners on a journey of reclaiming stories and reimagining history. // Listen Now