Indigenous views on the future of public archaeology in Australia: A conversation that did not happen

Kellie Pollard, Claire Smith, Jasmine Willika, Vincent Copley senior, Vincent Copley junior, Chris Wilson, Emily Poelina-Hunter, Julie Ah Quee

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These diverse Indigenous Australian voices call for significant changes in the practice of public and community archaeology. They call for stronger heritage legislation to protect Indigenous sites threatened by mining and government economic interests; greater protection of Indigenous cultural and intellectual property; recognising heritage at landscape scale of investigation; Indigenous teaching pedagogy and more Indigenous archaeologist research staff in universities; training Indigenous community people in various facets of archaeology and archaeological terms; building the research capacity of Indigenous students and Indigenous communities in archaeology; greater direct benefits for Indigenous participants in archaeological projects, including long-term financial benefits; and the need for archaeologists to work more effectively with communities. The discussions identify the need for public and community archaeology to align theory, practice and ethics with Indigenous epistemologies (ways of knowing) and ontologies (ways of being) and to facilitate wider public recognition of Indigenous histories, lived experiences and worldviews. Above all, they call for public and community archaeologies to be more responsive to—and to heed more closely—the words, needs and aspirations of Indigenous Australians. The omissions are interesting, too. While a number of people express their interest in the ancient it is not a sole focus for anyone. Instead, deep time archaeology is placed within a wider matrix that includes ethical archaeological practice and clear and long-term benefits for contemporary Aboriginal people.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-52
Number of pages22
JournalAP: Online Journal in Public Archaeology
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Indigenous archaeology
  • Public archaeology
  • Community Archaeology
  • Indigenous communities
  • Aboriginal archaeology
  • reconciliation

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