One of the major goals of the E’se’get Project is to integrate local communities into the field work process and communicate the results in an immediate manner. This year we’ve developed a comprehensive program to engage local communities in the research.
Over the last three years I’ve developed a relationship with Acadia First Nation (AFN), who has now become a major partner in the project. This year we are collaborating to offer a field school for Mi’kmaw high school students, who will spend a week digging side-by-side with us. At the same time, the students will learn camping skills at Thomas Raddall Provincial Park and take part in cultural activities organized by AFN.
I’ve also been asked to take part in AFN’s Kepabskitk Gathering, which will take place at the Queens County Museum on July 4th. This year’s theme is “Heritage through our people”. This is the perfect forum to speak with community members about the archaeology of Port Joli, and I’m thrilled to be part of such a unique cultural event.
The Department of Natural Resources also continues to be a major collaborator. This year we are pooling our resources to provide an opportunity for local residents, tourists, and heritage groups to see an archaeological dig first-hand. Details on the public program will be posted here shortly: http://www.novascotiaparks.ca/parks/thraddall.asp. If you are in the South Shore Region in July, please come and see the dig for yourselves!
If you can’t make it in person, there is always this blog. It will be written from multiple perspectives, with students, crew, and others contributing their thoughts and experiences.
In sum, I’m delighted by the level of community involvement in the project this year. Often archaeologists go silently about their work, sharing their discoveries and interpretations only with fellow scholars. But here we have a real opportunity to directly engage local people as we excavate the site. There is no more immediate way to pass along information – and the sense of excitement and discovery that motivates archaeologists to head into the field year after year.