Mourning the Land: Archaeology and the Campsites of an Iiyiyuu-Iinuu (Cree) Family, Northern Québec

François Guindon

Abstract

This paper explores the memorial practices of an Iiyiyuu-Iinuu (Cree) family of Québec and the positive addition of archaeology in these practices during the Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Program. The project was organized by the Cree Regional Authority and aimed to preserve local heritage affected by the forthcoming flood of the Rupert River diversion. Fieldwork went on from 2006 to 2009 and adopted a specific focus on the recent past of the Neeposh family particularly affected by this development. Campsites inhabited approximately from the 1940s to the present were investigated with the collaboration of the former occupants who are now Neeposh elders. Interacting with the campsite remains during archaeological fieldwork turned out to be for them a unique opportunity to remember their lives at these places and revealed the existence of deep attachments to these places. Participation of archaeology in the family’s remembrance added an unsuspected dimension to archaeological fieldwork, which suggests potential contributions of the discipline to contemporary challenges faced by Aboriginal peoples.

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