Ontario Archaeological Society
Task Force on the Draft Technical Bulletin
"Engaging Aboriginal Communities in Archaeology"
The Draft Standards and Guidelines for Consulting Archaeologists (2009) is a document which was created by the Ministry of Culture to guide consulting archaeologists in carrying out their activities prior to developments which would irrevocably alter the archaeological sites and remains that have survived for centuries and millennia across Ontario. An important component of that work is the need to consult with First Nations. This consultation can be seen as two-pronged. On the one hand, members of local First Nations can provide valuable information for locating and assessing the significance of archaeological remains within their territories. A second motive for undertaking consultation is an ethical one since the vestiges of the ancient past which may exist on lands that have been proposed for development retain chapters of a past which may be directly relevant to the local First Nations.
With nearly 1000 new archaeological sites being identified each year in Ontario by the archaeological consulting industry and given the significance of these remains for First Nations in Ontario, the Ministry of Culture, in proposing new Standards and Guidelines for Consulting Archaeologists also put forward a Technical Bulletin aimed at these consulting archaeologists. This document's stated objective is to help the archaeologist "engage" Aboriginal Communities in the archaeological process.
The OAS Statement of Ethical Principles is quite clear when discussing its ethical position vis-Ó-vis the First Nations in Ontario:
7 We respect the right of First Nations to play a primary role in the conduct of any aboriginal archaeological investigation.
8 We affirm that every reasonable effort should be made to consult and cooperate with First Nations in the stewardship, conservation, and display of aboriginal artefacts, and that the wishes of First Nations must be respected concerning disturbance and re-interment of human remains.
We therefore thought it would be pertinent to devote some efforts to examining the Technical Bulletin "Engaging Aboriginal Communities in Archaeology" in order to ascertain the effectiveness and suitability of the Technical Bulletin.
The main portion of that report is presented here in 6 parts. The various appendices which are mentioned in the report were judged too voluminous to post here but may be obtained upon request by contacting Lorie Harris, the Executive-Director of the OAS.
The Technical Bulletin Task Force was under the leadership of Mr. Ron Bernard, president of the cultural centre, OmÓmiwininý PimÓdjwowin, of PikwÓkanagÓn, who had been delegated to carry out this work by Chief Kirby Whiteduck. The board of directors is grateful to the community of PikwÓkanagÓn for accepting to undertake this valuable work on our behalf and to Mr. Ron Bernard in particular for leading the project.
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