Colonial Stigma in ‘Post’-Colonial Archaeology

Author(s): Dawn M. Rutecki

Year: 2017


Legacies of archaeological social complexity models continue to stigmatize living Native communities. Pervasive in discussions of pre-Contact peoples in the modern United States, these models rely on the Eurocentric foundations steeped in racism, sexism, and religious bigotry on which they were built during early colonization. Archaeological evidence provides the opportunity to interrogate how past peoples were and continue to be entangled with living communities, rather than to buttress myopic, authoritarian narratives. Using examples from the Southern Plains, this paper argues that altering these narratives requires us to break apart data generated from cultural materials and documents employed to support linear social complexity models of Native peoples. By understanding how our own biases have been shaped by the very same colonial perspectives and their cultural perpetuation in nineteenth and twentieth centuries that we argue against, archaeologists can act to undermine the oppression we helped create. 

Cite this Record

Colonial Stigma in ‘Post’-Colonial Archaeology. Dawn M. Rutecki. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435297)

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min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

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Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

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PaperId(s): 448