Truth before Transition: Reimagining Anthropology as Restorative Justice

Wednesday, November 15th – 6:30pm – 8:15pm
Metro Toronto Convention Center | Hall F
Livestreamed from Toronto

Anthropology is a discipline in transition. We must face the difficult truths of our discipline’s complicity in settler colonial violence and saviorism, and how they have shaped our theories and methods. In this keynote, I discuss how I turn toward truth-telling as an Indigenous archaeologist, both in terms of critiquing the discipline and using the tools of archaeology to support Indigenous communities locate potential graves of their loved ones who died at Indian Residential Schools. I explore how truth-telling opens space for a more restorative and just practice of anthropology, one that emerges from a commitment to recognize harm, support resurgence, and repair relations with peoples who have long been the subjects of anthropological study. I argue that this is a necessary transition for anthropology to have a future that is ethical, relevant, and restorative.

Kisha Supernant, PhD
Director, Institute of Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology

Dr. Kisha Supernant

Dr. Kisha Supernant (Métis/Papaschase/British) is the Director of the Institute of Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology and a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alberta. An award-winning teacher, researcher,and writer, her research interests include the relationship between cultural identities, landscapes, and the use of space, Métis archaeology, and heart-centered archaeological practice. Her research with Indigenous communities (including Métis and First Nations) in western Canada explores how archaeologists and communities can build collaborative research relationships and uphold Indigenous rights to cultural heritage. She leads the Exploring Métis Identity Through Archaeology (EMITA), a collaborative research project which takes a relational approach to exploring the material past of Métis communities, including her own family, in western Canada. Recently, she has been increasingly engaged in using technologies to locate and protect unmarked burials around residential schools at the request of Indigenous communities. She has published in peer-reviewed journals on GIS in archaeology, collaborative archaeological practice, Métis archaeology, and indigenous archaeology in the post-TRC era, as well as co-edited two books. She was recently named to Edmonton’s Top 40 under 40 by Avenue Magazine and elected to the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Scientists, and Artists. She is also President of the Indigenous Heritage Circle.