Talk by Dr. Fabiola Silva


Location: 278 Corbett Family Hall

On Tuesday, April 5th at 2pm in 278 Corbett she will present a version of her Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting talk, on the subject of Archaeology and indigenous self-determination. Specifically, she discusses how indigenous people in Brazil are claiming and operationalizing archaeological heritage in the context of territorial claims in the face of a Government that aims – and in part succeeded – to reverse decades of legislation on indigenous rights over their ancestral lands, depicted as obstacles to the economic development of Amazonia.


Abstract: In many countries, indigenous peoples have been affected by acts of oppression, disrespect and violence that threaten the reproduction of their ways of life and the maintenance of their territories. In recent years, in Brazil these acts are manifest in economic, social, and environmental policies, and in legislative measures concerning indigenous lands and the archeological materials that are fundamental elements of the cultural heritage of these peoples. Reactionary political leaders and representatives of economic interests have affirmed that archeological materiality has no value and does not need to be researched and preserved, and that indigenous peoples’ rights to land claims should be restricted. In reaction, indigenous peoples, in partnership with various non-governmental organizations, and others social agents, have sought to strengthen their resistance movements, mobilizing for the affirmation and recognition of their self-determination and the importance of maintenance and preservation of their lands, cultural heritage and ways of life. In this interim, these peoples have been using archeology to reaffirm their identity, their belonging to certain territories and their ownership of archaeological remains. They have engaged in collaborative archeological practices, participating in the construction of archaeological knowledge about their long-term histories.