On Using Archaeology within an Indigenous Rights-Based Approach to Sustainability

Author(s): Anna Antoniou; Earl Davis

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Advancing Public Perceptions of Sustainability through Archaeology" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

In the U.S., indigenous communities often suffer poor health at far greater rates than non-native populations. Lower life expectancy and the disproportionate disease burden exist often because their local food diversity and sources have been diminished by restricted access and economic stresses. To remedy these health disparities, many indigenous communities are working towards reviving traditional foodways and regaining their rights to local and sustainable food sources. We argue that an archaeological understanding of prehistoric foodways can help to accomplish these community-set agendas in three ways. First, archaeological understandings can complement traditional knowledge to establish the cultural infrastructure needed to motivate and enrich these efforts. Second, archaeological data can be instrumental in the legal battles necessary to overturn governmental laws that prevent economically stressed indigenous communities from accessing traditional and local food sources. And lastly, indigenous communities can capitalize on archaeology’s broad public appeal to advance public perceptions of their own sustainability efforts. To illustrate the utility of archaeology within sustainability discourses, we present a case study from southwestern Washington State. In it, we describe our on-going efforts to use archaeological investigations at Nukuanlth Village to reinvigorate culturally important foodways that are in danger of being lost within the descendant community.

Cite this Record

On Using Archaeology within an Indigenous Rights-Based Approach to Sustainability. Anna Antoniou, Earl Davis. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450655)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25324