Chelsea Meloche

M.A.: University of Windsor, 2014

B.A.: University of Windsor, 2010

Supervisor: Dr. George Nicholas

Research Areas: Repatriation, Museum Collection Ethics, Collaborative and Decolonizing Research, Biological Anthropology

Research Interest:

For my master’s thesis, I participated in the return of the Rickley human skeletal collection to Walpole Island First Nation in Ontario. The project incorporated several interdisciplinary methodologies to document the process of return and consider its significance for the community, including a comprehensive catalogue of the collection and associated original documents, engaged ethnographic interviews, and a review of existing repatriation policy. In this way I was able to provide extensive contextual information to inform a community protocol for future discussions involving repatriation.

During this time, I also worked closely with university administrators and community elders and leaders to facilitate the return and reburial of these remains, and in June 2014, I was invited to attend the reburial ceremony alongside other representatives from the university. That the repatriation was able to be completed during the course of my research was very fortunate as it provided me with the opportunity to witness the significant impact that it had on the community.

Ph.D. Research:

The contemporary process of repatriation to Indigenous communities and its significance for those involved remains the focal point of my research at the doctoral level. I intend to explore how the return of collections works to improve relations between Indigenous and settler communities, and how repatriation affects Indigenous communities from a perspective based in social justice.

MA Thesis: Repatriation as Knowledge and Process: An Engaged Approach.

Digital Publications:

2015 (Meloche, C). Returning Ancestral Remains: Lessons Learned from the Rickley Collection. Online blog post for IPinCH: Intellectual Property Rights in Cultural Heritage, November 25, 2015.

Conference Presentations:

2016 (Meloche, C). What Happens Next? Assessing the Impacts of Repatriation on Descendant Communities in Canada. [Poster presentation] 49th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Archaeological Association, Whitehorse.

2016 (Meloche, C). Some Realities of Repatriation: A Case for Engaged Anthropology from Ontario. “Students of the IPinCH Project: Research at the Crossroads of Archaeology and Anthropology” session at the 76th Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Vancouver.

2013 (Meloche, C. and J. Albanese). The Archaeology of Southern Ontario Archaeology: A Case Study of the Rickley Site. [Poster presentation] 41st Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology, Toronto.

2011 (Carey, E., C. Meloche, M. Biddle, S. Craib, and J. Albanese). Effects of Intra- and Inter-Observer Error When Estimating Age at Death Using Various Skeletal Elements. [Poster presentation] 39th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology, Montreal.