Circles of Interaction

Between June 2015 and April 2017, archaeologists worked closely with members of the Huron-Wendat Nation on a historic research project entitled “Circles of Interaction: the Wendat and their Neighbours in the Time of Champlain”. The project was funded in part by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Canada, and facilitated, for the first time, the participation of the Huron-Wendat Nation as an organizer alongside archaeologists at the annual symposium of the Ontario Archaeological Society (OAS). The symposium was held in October 2015 in Midland, Ontario, Canada.

During the symposium, the Huron-Wendat Nation hosted a day-long session on the relationship between the ancestral Wendats and the people known as the St. Lawrence Iroquoians. The session reflected the deep interest of the Huron-Wendats in their past. Yet until recently, with few exceptions, descendant communities were left out of knowledge creation on their ancestors. Members of descendant communities often have limited chances to engage directly with scholars and heritage professionals. The lead role of the Huron-Wendat Nation in the OAS symposium, therefore, represents a significant step toward addressing colonial practices in Canadian archaeology.

Moreover, the publication was prepared in collaboration, on equal terms, with the Huron-Wendat Nation. Articles in the Ontario Archaeology volume were selected based on the thematic interests of Wendats who attended the symposium session. Louis Lesage (Huron-Wendat Nation) and Neha Gupta jointly edited the collection. This marks a nuanced but clear shift in the way archaeologists collaborate with Indigenous communities, and can offer a path to transforming Canadian archaeology.

The volume has been translated and published by Presses de l’Université, Quebec City under the title Études multidisciplinaires sur les liens entre Hurons-Wendat et Iroquoiens du Saint-Laurent.