Archaeological Theory and the Politics of Cultural Heritage by Laurajane Smith

By Laurajane Smith

This debatable booklet is a survey of ways relationships among indigenous peoples and the archaeological institution have gotten into trouble, and an important pointer to how you can circulate ahead from this point.

With lucid value determinations of key debates resembling NAGPRA, Kennewick and the repatriation of Tasmanian artefacts, Laurajane Smith dissects the character and effects of this conflict of cultures.

Smith explores how indigenous groups within the united states and Australia have faced the pre-eminence of archaeological thought and discourse within the method the fabric continues to be in their earlier are cared for and regulated, and the way this has challenged conventional archaeological proposal and practice.

Essential studying for all these keen on constructing a simply and equivalent discussion among the 2 events, and the position of archaeology within the examine and administration in their heritage.

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Sample text

Through its education programmes the BIA attempted to break down Indian languages and religions, and attempted to teach Indians to be farmers, tradespeople or domestics (Iverson 1998). In 1887, the General Allotment Act saw the subdivision of reservations into 160-acre allotments, which were distributed to tribal members while all surplus land was sold to the Federal government and opened up to homesteaders. This Act attempted to attack the notion of community-held land while fostering Western notions of individual land ownership (Coulter and Tullberg 1984: 200– 1; Deloria and Lytle 1998: 25).

In America, collective protest has also had a long history, however, Cornell (1988) suggests that with the IRA and the formal recognition of tribal governments Indian protest took on an added dimension. He argues that tribalization facilitated cooperative relations between diverse and distant Indian communities and provided a focus for political and community organizations (1988: 101–4). Organizations such as the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the Council of Energy Resource Tribes and National Tribal Chairmen’s Association and other organizations began to form from the 1940s onwards (Cornell 1988; Nagel 1997; Iverson 1998).

Processual theory, or ‘processual archaeology’ (Renfrew and Bahn 1991: 14), developed in the USA in the early 1960s as a reaction to the perceived inadequacies of the ‘culture history’ approach (Watson 1973a; Trigger 1984b, 1989). By 1980, advocates of processual archaeology could successfully claim that, during the 1970s, processual theory had become ‘mainstream’ (Patterson 1986a: 44). Certainly, today processual theory is claimed as the dominant theoretical position in American, British and Australian archaeology despite challenges by postprocessual theories and residual ‘culture history’ adherents (Murray 1987; Daniel and Renfrew 1988: 173–4; Johnson 1999).

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