Sarah da Ponte


M.A.: SFU Heritage Resource Management M.A. Candidate

B.A.: Concordia University, Anthropology (Minor in Archaeology)

Supervisor: John Welch  

Research Interests: Indigenous Archaeology, Historic Archaeology, Near Eastern Archaeology, Community Relations, Trauma informed Therapy, Holistic Anthropology, Ethnographic research, MMIWG, Land-based Healing.


Over the past  20 years, I have worked as a counsellor and intervention specialist with First Nations and Inuit women, men and children living homeless or in precarious situations as well as helped manage urban permanent/transitional housing programs for various Indigenous organizations in Montreal. I have also been a contributing member for the Indigenous Community Network of Montreal where I occupied the position of Chairperson for the Homeless Working Committee for two years. In this capacity, I collaborated with various homeless organizations serving Indigenous participants and in partnership with provincial/municipal Indigenous and non-Indigenous government representatives towards the common goal of improving the lives and well being of the homeless indigenous population in Montreal. I consider myself privileged to have this experience. As an Ally, I would like to continue my work with the Indigenous communities in the form of community-based archaeology within the regional or provincial Government.

Fieldwork experience

2010-2011: excavation methodology, surveying, washing/sorting archaeo finds. Areni 1 Cave Complex in Yeghegnadzor, Vayots Dzor, Armenia.

M.A. Research 

I intend to investigate processes of Indigenous healing through archaeology. I am focusing my research through the lens of a land-based healing model as therapy in the context of connecting with Indigenous archaeological material culture. This project will be facilitated in collaboration with the Oujé-Bougoumou healing centre, a practical exercise for participants (youth/young adults) to join in or visit an archaeological site and exhibitions in order to assess the impact of connecting with ancestral artifacts/places and the meanings/values assigned to them by the individuals and community.  

My purpose is to contribute towards a positive transformation for participants/communities and land-based healing delivery models in exploring how to incorporate culturally-safe therapy in an archaeological context and aiding to improve the overall healing process of individuals and communities with healing from historical trauma and substance abuse.

Other Activities: Photographer and Painter, participated in exhibitions of my work in small galleries and local cafés around Québec.


Areni 1 Cave complex- Interior -Photo taken deep inside the cave. Excavating a refuse pit

Entrance to the cave – first passage towards the inner chamber leading to a ritual site

Pottery and faunal remains collected and ready to be washed and sorted

My transportation every day to and from the dig site

Areni 1 Cave Complex -Exterior- Photo taken just below the rockshelter. Excavating the fortification walls

Refuse pit - team hard at work

Washing pottery