Reconciliation – Working Together
It is now more than 25 years since Iain Davidson, Robyn Bancroft and Chris Lovell-Jones edited a seminal volume on archaeologists working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (Davidson et al. 1995). At that time, although there was a long history of consultation between archaeologists and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, there was little genuine collaboration to incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing into archaeological interpretations. Over the past quarter of a century, the archaeology discipline has evolved to challenge classic western ideals of ‘traditional’ ways of living, and to recognise shared ways of knowing, with the aim to build an integrated and entangled understanding of the past.
Together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the work of archaeologists has helped to redefine the dates for the first occupation of Australia, disproving popular beliefs that Australian Indigenous culture was static by revealing innovation and technological adaptation over long timeframes as well as challenging western accounts of historical events.
We recognise that many of archaeologists have been strong advocates within both the discipline and the greater political sphere of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights. However, despite these advances, Australian archaeologists have also, at times, ignored or devalued Indigenous perspectives. In this conference we seek to share case studies of collaborative research and engaged interpretations of the past to demonstrate how an integration of different knowledge systems can produce new understandings and interpretations of the archaeological record.
AAA and its members have the potential to add significant value to the reconciliation conversation. AAA Darwin 2021 marks a critical point for the discipline, and we welcome sessions and papers that explore the reconciliation theme, especially through collaborative projects and truth-telling.
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