Craig Cipolla

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Toronto, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9401

Approve Date

April 18, 2017

Project Title

Cipolla, Dr. Craig N., U. of Toronto, Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'Remaking Archaeology: Decolonizing Indigenous-Colonial Histories Through Mohegan Collaborative Indigenous Archaeology'

Preliminary abstract: This project combines archaeological and ethnographic perspectives, integrating standard archaeological questions about what we find with questions about how we find it within a collaborative indigenous archaeological framework. It focuses on a series of 18th-century sites on the Mohegan Reservation in Uncasville, Connecticut. By completing excavation, analysis, and synthesis of these sites, this project will shed new light on a time in Mohegan history during which both oral and written histories leave significant gaps concerning the details of everyday life and their relations to broader colonial processes. However, this project also asks questions about the potentially deep disciplinary impacts of collaborative indigenous archaeology (CIA) as a mode of inquiry. For over twenty years, the Mohegan Archaeological Field School (MAFS) has combined indigenous knowledge, sensitivities, interests, and needs with archaeological perspectives. The current iteration of the field school works specifically to bring Mohegan knowledge and archaeology into critical dialogue with academic research and teaching. The project leaders argue that this unique CIA project engenders interpretations of colonial pasts and indigenous histories that would not be possible with either non-indigenous archaeologists or indigenous archaeologists interpreting the past in isolation from one another. Through research and teaching, the MAFS remakes the archaeology of colonialism, both epistemologically and ontologically. This project assesses this remaking using video recording to analyze, critique, and possibly transform the research process. Overall, the project stands to make significant contributions to archaeologies of colonialism, CIA, and contemporary debates in archaeological/anthropological theory centering on decolonization, indigenous knowledge, and ontologies.