Thesis abstract ‘Knowledge, Power and Voice: An Investigation of Indigenous South Australian Perspectives of Archaeology’

14th November 2013

Amy Roberts

PhD, Department of Archaeology, Flinders University, Adelaide, 2003

This thesis presents a qualitative investigation of sixteen Indigenous South Australian perspectives of archaeology. The study is based upon results obtained from in-depth interviews conducted over a two-year period. The research reveals that there are 15 supportive factors that are currently contributing to meaningful collaborative archaeological research between archaeologists and Indigenous South Australians. However, although it may be understood that these themes or ‘lived experiences’ are evidence that some or many of the relationships between Indigenous South Australians and archaeologists are improving and in some cases even producing real partnerships and sites for reconciliation, it must also be admitted that these experiences are tempered by or held in tension with the participants’ inhibitive feelings, opinions and ‘lived experiences’ (explored in 22 themes). Thus, it is argued that relationships between archaeologists and Indigenous peoples can be improved further by taking a highly educative approach to cross-cultural awareness issues in relation to archaeology, Indigenous peoples, the public, university students, government and commercial organisations.

The implications of these findings are that new and structured approaches to working with Indigenous peoples are required in order to overcome the taken-far-granted practices within the archaeological discipline and to make attempts to rectify these tensions in the future. As a result, it IS proposed that professional archaeological organisations and institutions need to work more closely with Indigenous groups in an ‘applied anthropological’ manner, in order to facilitate the areas for change outlined by the participants, so that self-determination for Indigenous communities can be achieved through the archaeological discipline. A number of areas have been identified for structured discussions in this regard including: 1) Training students to understand power differences: 2) Teaching contested histories; 3) Creating policies to facilitate Indigenist approaches; 4) Teaching applied approaches; 5) Changing government policies and legislation in relation to –Indigenous control over report writing and other aspects of the archaeological research process, Indigenous control over choosing researchers, Indigenous control over research designs and interpretation, and Indigenous control over intellectual and cultural property rights; 6) Funding; 7) Multi-disciplinary re-casting; 8) Public education; and 9) Designing innovative collaborative approaches to facilitate Indigenous self-determination.

Roberts, A.
Thesis abstract 'Knowledge, Power and Voice: An Investigation of Indigenous South Australian Perspectives of Archaeology'
2004
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