Connections and Pathways through the Past

2018 OAS Symposium - Chatham-Kent

The OAS board of directors is happy to announce the date, location and theme of the 45th Annual OAS Symposium. This year’s symposium will be held at the Chatham-Kent John D. Bradley Convention Center, in Chatham, Ontario, from November 9-11, 2018.

The conference will explore the theme of “Connections and Pathways through the Past.” Come and explore the historic “Forks” of the Thames River and MacGregor Creek, a meeting place for Indigenous people, War of 1812 battle site, connection point on the Underground Railroad and mecca of early Black Settlement - see here for details

This year’s symposium will be held at the Best Western Brantford Hotel and Conference Centre, in Brantford, Ontario, from November 17-19, 2017, with the theme of From Truth to Reconciliation: Redefining Archaeology in Ontario.

Archaeology in Ontario was, for much of its history, entangled with a Colonial narrative that tended to exclude Indigenous knowledge and viewpoints. Indigenous peoples were allowed little or no direct role in the stewardship of their ancestral cultural properties. Over the past two decades, some dramatic developments arising from the court system, and from public awareness of Indigenous issues, have served to foster an increasingly close relationship between the archaeological community and those of First Peoples. In light of the recent Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC): Calls to Action (2015) and the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2008), there are repeated calls to redefine the relationship even further. Working with Indigenous cultural properties (including sites, scared places, and artifact collections) particularly in a development context, puts archaeologists at “Ground Zero” for where systemic change must occur.

The theme of this year’s symposium – From Truth to Reconciliation: Redefining Archaeology in Ontario – is an acknowledgment that Supreme Court decisions, the TRC Calls to Action, and UNDRIP have direct and immediate consequences for how archaeology is practiced in Ontario. It is clear that the relationship between archaeology and First Nations peoples must change; however, the specific nature and direction that these changes must take is unclear – particularly given the complex and intertwined web of legislation that governs archaeological practice in Ontario. How do we practice an archaeology that respects Indigenous rights while operating within a regulatory system that does not fully recognize those rights yet?

The goal of this year’s symposium is to explore what redefining the relationship between First Peoples and archaeologists may mean, both in “grounded” archaeological practice and in our conceptual frameworks. To that end, we are inviting representatives from Indigenous communities across the province to share their perspectives on the current state of the relationship and how it can be improved. In addition, archaeologists are encouraged to share their thoughts on this evolving issue and how they will be affected. In sharing our perspectives and opinions, we hope to begin work on a framework that will see our communities cooperating on matters of mutual interest moving forward. We are under no illusion that a comprehensive and monolithic solution will be achieved that can represent the disparate and diverse perspectives of all of the parties and individuals who participate in these discussions, but we hope to create an opportunity to listen and search for common ground.

Visit the OAS 2017 Symposium Website for more details!

2016 Symposium

Thank you for joining us at the 2016 Ontario Archaeological Society Symposium in Waterloo! This year’s Symposium features the theme of ‘Borders and Boundaries’ and is intended to spark discussion around foundational divisions, whether understood as categories of thought (e.g., nature|culture, mind|body, human|animal) or more practically with reference to the partitions we emplace in our space-time systematics (e.g., Paleoindian|Archaic, Precontact|Contact). We want to consider the implications such divisions have for the ways we make sense of the past. How do borders and boundaries serve to reify perceptions of difference? Why, and in what ways, do they shift, strengthen, or soften through time? Perhaps more importantly, how do we think with and through data that seem to defy such neat categorical orders? Numerous sessions have been planned which engage with this theme, including a 25+ year retrospective on the Society’s landmark publication The Archaeology of Southern Ontario to A.D. 1650, as well as sessions on Borderlands in Late Woodland Southwestern Ontario, Transitions in Ontario Archaeology, Historical Period Archaeology in Ontario, and Contributed Papers.

In addition to a stimulating suite of sessions, other events have also been organized including a workshop hosted by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport on the afternoon of Friday November 4th at the Waterloo Region Museum, followed by a walking tour of the 900+ acre rare Charitable Research Reserve in Cambridge hosted by John MacDonald. Afterwards, back at the Waterloo Region Museum, the Symposium officially begins with a welcome reception and plenary by Dr. Doug Hunter entitled “White Tribism: Writing Europeans into Ancient North America”. On Saturday at the Delta, be sure to check out the Posters on display outside ‘Silver Lake A’ and perhaps bid on one or more items in the OAS Silent Auction in the ‘Laurel Creek’ room! The Delta is also the place to be on Saturday evening for the annual OAS Banquet. As well, following the sessions on Sunday morning, join OAS President Paul Racher as he leads members and guests on a walking tour of the Huron Natural Area in Kitchener. Finally, with its numerous tourist attractions, vibrant atmosphere, and excellent dining facilities, Waterloo Region is an unforgettable place to explore during your time here.

We hope you enjoy the Symposium!

Yours sincerely,

Chris Watts, Chris Dalton, Bonnie Glencross, Robert MacDonald, and Gary Warrick

OAS 2016 Symposium Organizing Committee


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