On April 5, 2016, Maren Hopkins (Anthropological Research LLC) will present “Collaborative Research with Native Communities.”
My work as an ethnographer and archaeologist focuses on the relationship between Native American traditional cultural beliefs and practices and places on the landscape. This work is accomplished through community based participatory research with tribal members, wherein research questions are developed collaboratively and from an understanding of the social structures, worldviews, and contemporary concerns of Native American peoples.
This work is beneficial to tribal communities for the retention and transmission of their traditional cultural beliefs and practices. It is also particularly relevant for archaeologists and land managers, as they are beginning to frame research questions around the traditions, values, and historical perspectives of Native American descendant communities. Their inquiries are beginning to extend beyond ethical and legal obligations to consult with tribal governments. Scholars are also seeking new and greater meaning in the landscapes and materials that they have studied for over a century. Archaeological interpretations are thus beginning to refer to the living legacies found in contemporary Native practices, as well as to the documented traditions that describe unfamiliar and esoteric aspects of Native American life. Collaborative research with tribes is essential in these efforts.