Dr. Sara L. Gonzalez Joins Burke Museum as New Curator of Archaeology

“We’ve thought long and hard about how to Indigenize archaeology; to do and teach archaeology in a Grand Ronde way. Using Grand Ronde’s approaches to education, we ensure everybody is both a student and a teacher, that everybody is working together from a place of respect, trust, and reciprocity,” Gonzalez said. “That’s really resulted in a different approach to field work, one that’s more inclusive of the needs of students. Forty percent of our students are Indigenous or come from communities historically marginalized or excluded from archaeology and they’ve noted how the program made them feel like they were represented in archaeology.”

Working in the field of colonial studies, Gonzalez not only examines the history of colonialism through the past, but across all time periods. “The Burke has a critical role to play in connecting these histories, past and present, together,” Gonzalez said. “Oftentimes when we think of archaeology, we think of past history and past peoples. But we have a really great opportunity to be able to demonstrate and tell visitors how this history is present today; how the belongings that we represent or exhibit are part living traditions that are deeply connected to contemporary cultures and contemporary Tribal Nations.”

In addition to this work, Gonzalez has recently co-founded the Indigenous Archaeology Collective, a network of Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars within archaeology and related fields, and is a founding board member of the Black Trowel Collective Microgrants, which provides funding for archaeology students from working-class & historically looted communities. As she begins her new position at the Burke Museum she is excited to continue work that contributes to building a more inclusive institution that actively engages local Tribal Nations and other descendant communities in the protection and care of their heritage.

Article Source: Burke Museum