I am an Indigenous Archaeologist from Skwxwu7mesh Uxwumixw (Squamish Nation) who implements Indigenous perspectives of places, artifacts, lithic sources, plants and animals into my research. When working with First Nations communities, my research focuses on the issues that leadership and knowledgeable community members express. From this, mutual research designs and projects proceed in a symbiotic fashion. My research focus is in Indigenous Archaeology as it interrelates with archaeological science. This culturally informed approach is both self-reflexive and seeks to return cognitive geography/sense of place and being to people in the Squamish Nation and other First Nations communities. I use oral history and traditions that link people to places and through fieldwork and analysis to gain understanding of the modern and ancient worlds. I link this research with a technique called X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) that gives an elemental finger print of almost any material placed in front of it. Examination of numerous items and sites allows for both unifying cultural and scientific knowledge and making comparisons.
I also implement my research in teaching in the Archaeology and First Nations Studies Departments. In my courses, I blend perspectives of western academic scholars and compare them to my own and other Indigenous researchers. I do this using examples and exercises to promote an Indigenous worldview. I have done this most recently with a 13-episode series on Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) titled Wild Archaeology. My research projects practice minimal impact on the sites I chose to work on and I prefer to use of existing excavation/museum collections. I also push for the integration of Cultural Resource Management (CRM) data into the academic understanding of these areas and the standards of practice related to data recovery and analysis. Within these standards of inquiry, I also focus on possible explanations of intangible or seemingly unexplainable phenomena including rock art, beings only known by First Nations peoples, and landscape features that often lay outside standard archaeological explanations. Along this line of inquiry, I sit on the UNESCO advisory board for National Geoparks for Indigenous input to potential park applications in Canada.
SFU Archaeology XRF Lab