Open Data, Indigenous Knowledge, and Archaeology: The need for community-driven open data projects

Author(s): Kisha Supernant

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Openness & Sensitivity: Practical Concerns in Taking Archaeological Data Online" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Over the past 20 years, much archaeological data has been digitized and made available online. With an increasing call for open data and open science models, driven largely by a desire to make research more accessible and reproduceable, archaeologists are exploring new ways to make these data available without negative impacts to the archaeological record. However, when archaeologists work in Indigenous contexts, there are considerations about how broadly knowledge should be shared, especially when it concerns deceased ancestors. Archaeologists have become more attentive to the sensitivities about ancestral remains, but other material objects and site locations can be closely tied to knowledge that needs to stay within the community, lest it cause harm to living members. While some best practices can be outlined, ultimately archaeologists need to allow descendant communities to decide what materials can be shared (if any), how they should be shared, and any protections that need to be in place before data are made available, including legacy and archival data. Drawing on my experiences working with Indigenous communities in Canada, I discuss how they engage with the archaeological data in specific ways, highlighting the need for community-driven projects that are attentive to the needs of each community.

Cite this Record

Open Data, Indigenous Knowledge, and Archaeology: The need for community-driven open data projects. Kisha Supernant. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451671)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -141.504; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -51.68; max lat: 73.328 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25812