How to build an anti-colonial digital archaeology? Perspectives from the Canadian context


Archaeologists are increasingly engaging with data governance frameworks to ‘decolonize’ their practice in the age of big data. Data governance includes knowledge and strategies for data management, preservation and curation, accessibility, quality issues and legal and policy concerns over data ownership and data security. Open Data initiatives draw on FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) principles. While fruitful, these data-centric efforts obscure the impact of colonialism on the practice of science and overlook the rights of Indigenous peoples when it comes to ownership of the past. Seeking to re-center people in data governance, the Global Indigenous Data Alliance has developed CARE (collective benefit, authority, responsibility, ethics) principles. In this talk, I will discuss efforts in the Canadian context that begin to address data governance issues in digital archaeology, and I will suggest ways to build an anti-colonial archaeology.

University of Cambridge, UK