Skip to main content

"An Archaeology Led by Strawberries: Reclaiming, Storywork, & Indigenous Wellbeing"

A talk by Dr. Sonya Atalay, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Event Details

Friday, September 24, 2021
12 p.m.

The Archaeology Brown Bag Series of the Department of Anthropology and the American Indian Studies program present “An Archaeology Led by Strawberries:  Reclaiming, Storywork, & Indigenous Wellbeing," a virtual talk by Dr. Sonya Atalay (Anishinaabe-Ojibwe), Provost Professor of Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She will present her work on land-based archaeology and repatriation projects using a community-based participatory research approach with Indigenous youth and elders. Centering Anishinaabe epistemologies and concepts of well-being, she will explore how reclaiming traditional knowledge, ancestral remains, Indigenous language, and sacred sites can contribute to healing and well-being. She will discuss her use of arts-based research and knowledge mobilization methods—including collaborative comics, storybaskets and counter mapping, and augmented reality applications—as part of Indigenous storywork, demonstrating how lessons drawn from reclaiming tangible and intangible heritage provide a model for imagining decolonial research futures.

Dr. Atalay is an Indigenous archaeologist whose scholarship crosses disciplinary boundaries, incorporating aspects of cultural anthropology, archaeology, critical heritage studies, and Native American and Indigenous Studies. She’s currently involved in producing a series of research-based comics about repatriation of Native American ancestral remains, return of sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) law.

In her most recent work, Dr. Atalay is exploring ways that repatriation and reclaiming of tangible and intangible heritage are teachers that provides essential lessons for decolonizing and Indigenizing institutions. This work will be published in her forthcoming “Braiding Knowledge: How Indigenous Knowledge is Challenging and Changing Universities” which will be published by University of Arizona Press.