In North America, Indigenous pasts are publicly understood through narratives constructed by archaeologists who bring Western ideologies to bear on their inquiries. The resulting Eurocentric presentations of Indigenous pasts shape public perceptions of Indigenous peoples and influence Indigenous perceptions of self and of archaeology. In this paper we confront Eurocentric narratives of Indigenous pasts, specifically Wabanaki pasts, by centering an archaeological story on relationality between contemporary and past Indigenous peoples. We focus on legacy archaeological collections and eroding heritage sites in Acadia National Park, Maine. We present the “Red Paint People” myth as an example of how Indigenous pasts become distorted through archaeological narratives influenced by Western ideologies and offer a framework for indigenizing archaeological narratives constructed previously through Western lenses, using Indigenous language and community engagement to carry out the study.
Newsom, Bonnie D.; Lolar, Natalie D.; and St. John, Isaac, "In Conversation with the Ancestors: Indigenizing Archaeological Narratives at Acadia National Park, Maine" (2021). Anthropology Faculty Scholarship. 59.
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