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Community engagement in British Columbia archaeology

Date created: 
Collaborative Archaeology
Community Engagement
British Columbia Archaeology

Archaeologists are increasingly aware that their discipline affects living people, including the descendant communities on whose lands we work and heritage we explore. This trend has created a rise in engaged archaeological practices, including community-based, collaborative, and indigenous archaeologies. This thesis addresses the topic of community engagement by assessing how, to what extent, and to what ends archaeologists and descendant communities are working together in British Columbia. To examine these questions I first describe literature and theory on community engagement within and outside of archaeology, including past attempts to measure or evaluate community engagement. I use this to frame a set of attributes that characterize effective elements of community engagement. I then use these attributes to assess individual British Columbia archaeology projects, through interviews with British Columbia archaeologists and a sample of the British Columbia archaeology reports. My results indicate that British Columbia archaeologists recognize the importance of community engagement and attempt to implement strategies of engagement in their projects. Moreover, my results indicate that meaningful community engagement includes the opportunity for partnership, involvement, and long-lasting relationships.

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Copyright remains with the author. The author granted permission for the file to be printed and for the text to be copied and pasted.
John Welch
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.