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date: 15 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Collaboration is considered a panacea in North American archaeology today—a cure-all that is claimed to have radically transformed the discipline by bringing about equality and decolonization. Such assertions are problematic on many fronts, especially because collaborative archaeology has undergone little critical assessment. Based on our analysis of how the practice is defined, how social power is construed and measured, and how the goal of decolonization is conceptualized, we show collaboration to be a colonial whitewash that appropriates the methods and values of Indigenous archaeology. Rather than transformation and liberation, collaborative archaeology is ultimately rooted in cooptation and dependence. We contend that rather than decolonizing, collaborative archaeology is a steadfastly colonial enterprise.

Keywords: collaborative archaeology, Indigenous archaeology, cultural resource management, decolonization, appropriation, community-oriented archaeology, colonialism, applied archaeology, public archaeology

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