Director's Statement

The foundational work of the Institute of Prairie Archaeology has set the stage for expanding the scope and mandate of the Institute as it becomes the Institute of Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology (IPIA). In his reflections on the institute of which he was Executive Director for 11 years, Dr. Jack Ives noted “A future for the Institute of Prairie Archaeology should rightly consider it a powerful vehicle for leading forward in the reconciliation process. That work should involve attracting Indigenous and other scholars to a welcoming environment that fosters accurate understandings of the Indigenous past in western North America, and promotes those understandings as a compelling pathway to a respectful future in which First Nations and Métis communities thrive once again.”

With this in mind, I am creating a community of practice through IPIA that has three main strands: practice, policy, and pedagogy, the foundation of which is integrating Indigenous ways of knowing and being with archaeology.

Our practice includes:

  • A strong foundation of research projects grounded in western Canada 
  • Engaging in community-driven research at the behest of Indigenous communities
  • Emphasizing research with, by, and for Indigenous communities to address research needs
  • Envisioning a future for Indigenous archaeologies and heritage research
  • Practicing heart-centered archaeology
  • Developing and following principles of community for IPIA Scholars and IPIA Affiliates

Our policy goals are:

  • Supporting Indigenous Nations to create and implement heritage policy
  • Following OCAP principles wherever possible
  • Informing updates to heritage legislation at the provincial level
  • Advocating for development of Indigenous heritage legislation and policy at the national level
  • Developing wise practices for ethical Indigenous heritage research

Our approach to pedagogy involves:

  • Integrating Indigenous ways of knowing and being into the classroom
  • Teaching about settler colonialism in archaeology and heritage research
  • Creating place-based learning component of field school experience
  • Providing community-service learning opportunities