An Indigenous-Life-History Approach: Supporting Informed and Informative Bioarchaeology



Hardie, Meg

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Scholars have employed decolonial theories to transform anthropology as a field and bioarchaeology as a discipline, engaging and co-conspiring with Indigenous scholarship to prevent future harms to marginalized communities. These bioarchaeological projects intentionally unsettle and reassess histories narrated by settler-colonial heteropatriarchal voices, using decolonial genealogies of feminist, queer, and Indigenous theory that critique colonial influences on anthropological methods and interpretations. Bioarchaeological studies of stress, identity, relation, embodiment, and violence are augmented by these frameworks. To coalesce myriad theories and methods, the model of Indigenous-life-history is proposed. This braided approach to bioarchaeology acknowledges anthropology’s violent history while performing research within boundaries provided by involved descendant communities. Indigenous-life-history prioritizes respect towards Ancestors and relations through science and repatriation. Through this framework, bioarchaeology can narrate informed histories and contribute to decolonizing legacies through the restitution of Indigenous life and Ancestors.



Bioarchaeology, Life history, Indigenous theory, Decolonization, Repatriation, Indigenous-life-history