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Statement in support of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

posted Apr 10, 2016, 8:44 AM by Strathcona Archaeology

At our Annual General Meeting on March 17th, 2016, the membership of the Strathcona Archaeological Society approved the following statement.


In December 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released their final recommendations regarding indigenous and non-indigenous peoples in Canada building a future together. While their focus is on the future, many of these recommendations relate to the need for indigenous and non-indigenous people to come to terms with our shared history. This shared history extends beyond the residential school experience, to include the history of colonization and settlement, and the more than 10,000 year history of indigenous occupation of the land now called Canada. One way to understand this history is through archaeology, the study of the artifacts and sites left by past human actions.

Studying the material remains of the past can play an important role in our efforts towards truth and reconciliation. It enables us to learn the unwritten histories of pre-contact indigenous societies and colonial experiences. These histories provide us with opportunities for understanding and empathy, which help to open dialogues between indigenous and non-indigenous communities. Further, archaeological artifacts provide tangible evidence of indigenous occupation of these lands that can help non-indigenous communities understand and accept our colonial history.

Archaeology can contribute to advancing awareness, understanding and respect for indigenous cultures and histories. Archaeology will make important contributions toward improved indigenous education for lawyers, public servants, educators, and journalists in keeping with Calls to Action 27, 28, 57, 62 and 86 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

We, the members and executive of the Strathcona Archaeological Society, look forward to participating in efforts to reach the goals of the Truth and Reconciliation recommendations, through our continued efforts to share archaeological knowledge with the people of Alberta, and new efforts to advance that knowledge, and to engage indigenous communities in archaeological research and dialogue.

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