We are in the middle of a global pandemic, a time of record job losses, and a growing consensus that we live in an oppressive system of white supremacy that feeds off of silence and complicity of those in power and all who are white. Archaeologists study the complex narratives of the past, narratives that are frequently manipulated to serve racist ends that continue to perpetuate systemic white supremacy.
I want to acknowledge that we as archaeologists, and I as an Alaskan archaeologist, have not done enough to counter the white supremacist narrative that permeates the discipline to this day. Black lives matter in archaeology. Black histories matter. Indigenous lives and histories matter. I cannot stand by as Black and Indigenous histories are subverted. I aim to be more vocal about the ways white supremacy plays out both in academic scholarship and more subtle ways throughout the discipline. I am excited to be part of a growing movement of archaeologists who aim to actively shift the narrative away from white supremacist ideologies.
If you want to learn more, there are lots of places to start and continue learning about the ways white supremacy shapes archaeology (and what you can do to dismantle the systematic oppression of BIPOC histories). These are just a few that I have found helpful in the past few weeks:
Bree is an Alaskan Archaeologist and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wyoming.