The Waterloo Region has over 13,000-years of Indigenous history documented in hundreds of archaeological sites. On Sept. 29, the Kitchener Public Library hosted a lecture on the history of Indigenous archaeology in the region.
Gary Warrick, professor of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, presented the lecture and livestream event on Indigenous history and archaeology in the Waterloo Region.
“There’s a continuity getting back to the Tom Enders Susan McGee, the definition of an indigenous cultural landscape. There’s continuity there in land use,” Warrick said.
Tanya Hill-Montour, Archaeology Supervisor of the Six Nations of the Grand River was meant to also speak at the lecture but was unable to make it.
Hill-Montour is Mohawk of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Her family is Bear Clan and part of the Haudenosaunee community.
Hill-Montour is rooted in the Haudenosaunee culture and ceremonies that were passed down through her family.
Over the last two decades, Indigenous people increasingly contributed their skills, knowledge and voices to the writing of their history.
There were no Indigenous speakers at this event.
Warrick, Professor Emeritus at Wilfrid Laurier University, has over 45 years of archeological experience in Ontario. In addition to Warrick, the North Waterloo Region branch of the Architectural Conservancy Ontario (ACO) also spoke at the lecture.
“For some time, I’ve been wondering about how the ACO might engage more fully on Indigenous heritage. What can the ACO do to meet the 94 calls to action and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission or organization is mainly about architecture, heritage, but our mandate is also about landscapes of cultural significance?” Gail Pool, the communications coordinator from the ACO, said.
Warrick said in his lecture that Indigenous people must be at the forefront of sharing their history and stories.
Warrick’s current research includes the study of Huron-Wendat history as well as land use in Simcoe County.
Warrick received a Ph.D. in Anthropology from McGill University in 1990. His main research focuses on Huron-Wendat archeology. He conducted collaborative archaeological research with many Indigenous peoples in Canada. These communities include the Huron-Wendat peoples, Six Nations of the Grand River and the Mississaugas of the New Credit. He is also investigating past Huron-Wendat land use in Simcoe County, Ontario.
“A few years ago, both the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo did major studies of heritage landscapes. Not one Indigenous heritage landscape was identified and Indigenous heritage was mentioned only briefly,” Pool said.
Warrick and Pool highlighted the importance of Indigenous involvement in archaeology and the preservation of Indigenous archaeological and cultural heritage landscapes.
Warrick’s long-term research interest is the archaeology and history of the Iroquoian-speaking peoples of Ontario. He made collaboration with Iroquoian communities a priority in his work. He especially works with the Wendat and Haudenosaunee peoples.
“[…] I hope all of you have access to an orange shirt because that’s one small way. You know, [to say] ‘I understand your history. That was awful that happened. But you know what? I’m going to do my best not to be part of the problem and to try to fix things, for the future generations to change’,” Warrick said.
National day for Truth and Reconciliation Day was on Sept. 30. This day honours the children who never returned home, survivors of residential schools and victims’ families and communities.