We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Where the Wind Blows Us

Practicing Critical Community Archaeology in the Canadian North

Natasha Lyons

Publication Year: 2013

Where the Wind Blows Us unites critical practice with a community-based approach to archaeology. Author Natasha Lyons describes an inclusive archaeology that rests on a flexible but rigorous approach to research design and demonstrates a responsible, ethical practice. She traces the rise and application of community archaeologies, develops a wide-ranging set of methods for community practice, and maps out a “localized critical theory” that is suited to the needs of local and descendant communities as they pursue self-defined heritage goals. Localized critical theory aims to decenter the focus on global processes of capitalism in favor of the local processes of community dynamics. Where the Wind Blows Us emphasizes the role of individuals and the relationships they share with communities of the past and present.
Lyons offers an extended case study of her work with the Inuvialuit community of the Canadian Western Arctic. She documents the development of this longstanding research relationship and presents both the theoretical and practical products of the work to date. Integrating knowledge drawn from archaeology, ethnography, oral history, and community interviews, Lyons utilizes a multivocal approach that actively listens to Inuvialuit speak about their rich and textured history.
The overall significance of this volume lies in outlining a method of practicing archaeology that embraces local ways of knowing with a critically constructed and evolving methodology that is responsive to community needs. It will serve as a handbook to mine for elements of critical practice, a model of community-based archaeology, and a useful set of concepts and examples for classroom study.

Published by: University of Arizona Press


pdf iconDownload PDF (70.6 KB)
p. 1-1

Title Page, About the Series, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF (56.9 KB)
pp. ii-v


pdf iconDownload PDF (38.4 KB)
p. vii-vii

List of Illustrations

pdf iconDownload PDF (54.6 KB)
pp. ix-x

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (108.8 KB)
pp. xi-xix

Inuvialuit Elder Victor Allen once said to me with his typical pragmatism, “We didn’t know that [everything] was gonna change. If we knew it was gonna change, we probably woulda been [more] prepared. But the change went, we went with the change, and what you gonna do?” (Lyons 2007:33). He was talking about the historical events of the twentieth ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (54.0 KB)
pp. xxi-xxii

It is a great and continuing privilege to work with many extraordi-nary friends, colleagues, and community historians in the Inuvialuit community. I particularly wish to thank the many Elders that I have had the honor to share time with, for your stories, courage, humor, and humility. I sincerely thank the team members of the Inuvialuit Living History Project: in particular, Mervin ...

read more

Part I. Critique

Critical theory has its roots in the social thought of a selection of early twentieth-century philosophers, most prominently those of the Frankfurt School. This group of primarily Jewish intellectuals came together in the 1920s to develop a political philosophy that would map the rise of global capitalism and counteract the threats of nationalism and totalitarianism ...

read more

1. An Outline of Community-Based Archaeology

pdf iconDownload PDF (75.5 KB)
pp. 3-13

In the 1980s, Bruce Trigger made two observations that anticipated the emergence of a spectrum of alternative archaeologies as part of the postmodern movement. In his landmark article “Archaeology and the Image of the American Indian,” Trigger averred: “The New Archaeology continues to treat native peoples as objects rather than subjects of ...

read more

2. A Critique of Inuvialuit Representation

pdf iconDownload PDF (368.9 KB)
pp. 14-47

It is well known that before the arrival of Europeans, Indigenous peoples of the north, as elsewhere, passed on their stories, histories, lineages, remembrances, and other pertinent information by way of an oral tradition. The newcomers, as is also well known, had in the course of their own histories virtually shed the oral tradition in favor of a heavy reliance on the written word ...

read more

Part II. Practice

Practice, as the verb implies, means putting knowledge into motion. McGuire (2008:38) suggests that the Latin “[p]raxis springs from the realizations that people make the social world in their everyday lives and that they can also subvert and transform that world.” Theoretical praxis is built from a series of processes, including knowing the world, understanding it ...

read more

3. Finding Middle Ground: The Methodological Shift

pdf iconDownload PDF (74.9 KB)
pp. 51-60

From the inception of the discipline, anthropological research methods have continuously evolved to meet the needs of changing sociopolitical conditions. At different historical junctures, the discipline has been hailed as the salve of cross-cultural inquiry and, at others, has come under fire for its misstep with political conditions or epistemological ...

read more

4. Practice and the Inuvialuit Archaeology Partnership

pdf iconDownload PDF (260.2 KB)
pp. 61-80

A critical and reflexive perspective asks us to name our circumstances and motivations at the outset of research (Leone 2003, 2010; Wilson 2008:10). I have chosen to work in partnership with the Inuvialuit community to help bring aspects of their respective histories to light. I am a third-generation Canadian who claims no Aboriginal ancestry. I entered the ...

read more

5. Bridging Critical and Indigenist Research: Localized Critical Theory

pdf iconDownload PDF (77.6 KB)
pp. 81-91

Critical theory is a powerful tool for examining and understanding situations of inequality. It allows us to see how individuals can be alternately empowered and marginalized by the workings of society, and also how they can choose a path, either individually or collectively, to greater consciousness of their social circumstances (Kincheloe and McLaren 2000:283; ...

read more

6. A Negotiated Analysis of Inuvialuit Material History

pdf iconDownload PDF (505.0 KB)
pp. 92-132

This chapter enfranchises Inuvialuit Elders into the process of interpreting their own social and material histories. Preceding case study chapters have suggested that, until recently, the Inuvialuit have had little opportunity to represent themselves and their (his)stories and (her)stories in print, let alone in specialized social sciences, such as archaeology. Inviting ...

read more

Part III. Reflection

The practice of reflexivity is as old as culture itself. It fosters the ability of individuals and collectivities to gaze at an arm’s distance upon the self, the society, or the other, with a view to understanding their coming into being in a wider context (Myerhoff and Ruby 1982). Storytelling is an example of an ultimately reflexive activity, by which teller and audience may ...

read more

7. Alternative Archaeologies and Their Impact on Disciplinary Practice

pdf iconDownload PDF (74.4 KB)
pp. 135-143

I have heard it said in a variety of contexts that community-based practitioners are a small but vocal minority of the discipline who think they are making more of an impact on archaeological practice than they actually are. This chapter considers this statement by reviewing, evaluating, and reflecting on some of the contemporary impacts on the profession resulting ...

read more

8. Inuvialuit Identity and the Material Past

pdf iconDownload PDF (166.6 KB)
pp. 144-164

I began this volume by naming the injustices (sensu Leone 2003, 2010) I saw in the one-sided representation of Inuvialuit in the written historical record, despite their ample, if untapped, archaeological history. My motivation, and that of my Inuvialuit and non-Inuvialuit project partners, has been to create a conscious dialogue with this community about the past, ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (38.6 KB)
p. 165-165

I have worked in and with members of the Inuvialuit community for a decade now. This has been and continues to be an engaging, often provocative, and always rewarding experience. Working with others—especially when those others inhabit a different cultural landscape than your own— teaches you a great deal about yourself, your assumptions, and your expectations ...

Appendix 1. Inuvialuit Digital Resources and Related Sites of Interest

pdf iconDownload PDF (50.1 KB)
p. 167-167

Appendix 2. Interviews with Elders, Community Leaders, and Educators in the Inuvialuit Community Cited in Text

pdf iconDownload PDF (51.7 KB)
pp. 169-170


pdf iconDownload PDF (56.6 KB)
pp. 171-173

References Cited

pdf iconDownload PDF (185.7 KB)
pp. 175-223


pdf iconDownload PDF (61.7 KB)
pp. 225-230

read more

About the Author

pdf iconDownload PDF (50.2 KB)
p. 231-231

Natasha Lyons received a PhD in archaeology from the University of Calgary in 2007 for her work toward building a critical Inuvialuit archaeology with this Western Arctic community. Her research interests are wideranging, including the search for sovereignty, identity, self-definition, and determination among North American First Nations and Inuit; theory and ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780816599196
E-ISBN-10: 081659919X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816529933
Print-ISBN-10: 0816529930

Page Count: 255
Illustrations: 32 photos, 2 illustrations, 4 tables
Publication Year: 2013