Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wendat/Wyendot conference

Marg and I spent the end of last week and part of the weekend in attendance at a Wendat/Wyendot conference organized by Laval U and hosted by the Wendat at their hotel/museum complex in Wendake Que. Congratulation for all involved for a job well done.
I attended as a co presenter with Dr Alicia Hawkins who did an excellent job organizing and chairing a number of sessions on archaeology in Ontario. In our joint session we attempted to outline the role of avocational archaeologists and the contributions they have made to date in our knowledge base of Old Wendake now known as Huronia. Alicia covered the history of archaeology in Huronia using the works of AF Hunter and F Ridley as examples and then went on to outline the role of the OAS in promoting the practices of "ethical archaeology". My task was to introduce the role of the local OAS chapters with a focus on the Huronia Chapter and work we have done including and example of advocacy (the Bell Mobility tower/Ossossane). Alicia then illustrated the case of the metal detecting incident at the Thompson Walker site and the implications and impact of incidents like this on the preservation of archaeological resources here or elsewhere.
The presentations at these events are, for the most part, are quite interesting and informative. In addition to the sessions on the history and archaeology of the Wendat/Wyendot community were sessions on the culture with a focus on the traditions, governance, language, arts and future relationship of this widely dispersed First Nation that for a time at least was native to Canada and more specifically, for a couple of hundred years or more to Huronia.
Beyond the educational value of attendance at these conferences is the networking that takes place. The renewal of friends and acquaintances and the development of new ones. As with Champlain, it is important that we recognize that we can only move forward with our endevours at the behest of our allies and friends, that we are not the leaders but merely the followers in the quest for a better understanding of the history that we all share.

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