Social Justice for Younger Students

Contributed by Lindsay Randall

An important part of the Peabody’s educational mission is to support the expansion of archaeology-centered teaching into new areas. While we have primarily focused on how to integrate archaeology into high school and college level education, we have not engaged in sustained efforts for lower grades. We recently had an opportunity to change that. 

This month I helped Dr. Bethany Jay of Salem State University to outline a new education course that she will be teaching focused on subject matter knowledge listed in the MA frameworks for History and social sciences from prek-8th grade. 

Dr. Bethany Jay as we worked on the course.

The course will help future teachers explore the political, economic, and cultural development of the United States with an eye towards social justice. As such, Indigenous people Africans/African Americans, and women will figure prominently in the course discussions of those who impacted American history. Students in the class will see how these groups influenced and were affected by the changing political, cultural, and economic landscape..

We decided to have the class begin with a project focused on rethinking how the First Thanksgiving is taught in elementary classrooms, with a particular focus on centering Native voices. Using resources from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, exploring Indignous place names in Massachussetts, and finding age appropriate and accurate literature, such as Chris Newell’s book If You Lived During the Plimoth Thaksgiving, students will create multiple lesson plans reflecting the standards of the grades they intend to teach.

There was a lot of material for us to work with when we got to the section on ancient cilviliations and how archaeologists develop theories regarding past cultures – a particular focus of 4th grade. To ensure local connections, we decided to incorporate the paleo-indian Bull Brook site located in Ipswich MA in the discussions. 

We also outlined part of the course that would discuss both slavery and contributions of women, using material culture, but that section still needs more work. However, I’m thinking many of the lessons that the Peabody uses could be scaled down to be age appropriate for the elementary level.  

It was a lot of fun to work with Dr. Jay on the creation of this class and I cannot wait to collaborate on the second half and to hear how it goes!

Both Nigel and Bruce decided that they did not want to be left out of the planning process.

REVOLTing Art: Understanding the Pueblo Revolt Through Modern Art

Contributed by Lindsay Randall

The Pueblo Revolt was a pivotal moment in the history of the Southwest region of what is now the United States. 

In 1680 the numerous Pueblos unified under the leadership of Po’pay and fought back against the military, religious, and political incursion of the Spanish. This event is the only successful large scale Indigenous revolt against Europeans in North America, and as such is covered in History 201 at Phillips Academy.

While there are numerous accounts of the Revolt from a Spanish perspective, many academics agree that there are no known comparable accounts of the event from the perspective of the Pueblos. 

But what are “comparable” sources anyway? Because there are Indigenous accounts from that time period and contemporaneous to the known Spanish accounts – They are just in the form of oral traditions. Unfortunately, oral traditions have historically not been treated as the same as written or archaeological evidence.  

I wanted to change how our students interacted with material about the Pueblo Revolt and so I created a new lesson that gave more weight to the Pueblo experience, in their own words. And thankfully, Dr. Marisela Ramos, History Department Head was more than happy to let me use her classes to experiment and refine my lesson.

Jason Garcia ceramic in the Peabody’s collection

Artist Jason Garcia (Tewa name: Okuu Pin) has created numerous and stunning pieces related to the Pueblo Revolt using traditional comic book imagery, including a ceramic pot that is in the Peabody’s collection. He has also crafted a multi piece series of art titled Tewa Tales of Suspense! which continues his efforts to provide a counterpoint to the common Spanish-dominant narrative of the Pueblo Revolt. 

Using a set of pictures from the expansive series, I crafted a lesson which engages students in close reading of the visual images to understanding this particular event in history. 

After working in groups and spending time exploring the details of a single picture, students report back to the whole class about what information their picture is conveying, before working collaboratively to place all the images in chronological order. As the class orders the images, we discuss how the narrative of each single picture contributes to our understanding of the larger story of the Pueblo Revolt.

Then we look at quotes taken from a letter by Governor Don Antonio de Otermin and students attempt to match the quotes to the corresponding image.

We end the class with a discussion regarding the differences in how a single event is portrayed depending on the viewpoint and medium (visual narrative vs. written account) as well as why it is important that oral traditions be given the same authority as written documents. 

This lesson has been an exciting way to engage students with the history of the Pueblo Revolt through comic book style art and I look forward to finding ways to refine and expand the activity.

DIGGIN’ IN: SEASON 3

Contributed by Lindsay Randall

Given the huge success of the initial seasons of Diggin’ In: Conversations with Archaeologists we are pleased to continue the digital offering through 2021! We launched the third season on Wednesday August 11th and it will run through the middle of December. 

This season features ten speakers who will explore exciting topics such as maritime history, the archaeology of American protests, queer archaeology, and ableism in archaeology. The full list of speakers and topics is:

Episode 1: Reanalyzing a Mayflower Family Home 
Caroline Gardiner 
WEDNESDAY AUGUST 11, 2021

Episode 2: The Howard Street Cemetery Project and the Desegregation of American History in Salem, MA
Rachel Meyer
WEDNESDAY AUGUST 25, 2021

Episode 3: Oregon Chinese Diaspora Archaeology
Jocelyn Lee
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 8, 2021

Episode 4: The Indigenous Paleolithic of the Western Hemisphere
Dr. Paulette Steeves
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 22, 2021

Episode 5: First Baptist Church, Colonial Williamsburg
Jack Gary
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 6, 2021

Episode 6: Ableism in Archaeology 
Dr. Laura Heath-Stout
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 20, 2021

Episode 7: Creole Maritime Archaeology
Dr. Lynn Harris
WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 3, 2021

Episode 8: Using Queer Theory in Archaeology
Gabriela Oré Menéndez
WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 17, 2021

Episode 9: Origins of Food Inequality and Equity
Dr. Kimberly Kasper
WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 1, 2021

Episode 10: Archaeology of American Protests
Dr. April Beisaw
WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 15, 2021

And, hot off the press is an article that I wrote with Massachusetts Archaeological Society Trustee Suanna Crowley for the New England Museum Association’s digital publication about the impact of Diggin’ In. You can read the article HERE.

To sign up for Diggin’ In please use our new online registration page.

You can watch past episodes and seasons on our YouTube page.

Blood Quantum: A Zombie Film

Contributed by Lindsay Randall

The last lesson that I taught for the 2020-2021 academic year was unbelievably interesting and completely unlike anything I have ever taught about.  

So. Much. BLOOD Fun.

Dr. Miriam Villanueva, faculty in the History department, taught a course during Spring term on understanding history through zombie films. She used films such as Ojuju and Zombi Child to explore various cultural, social, and economic issues impacting the cultures that the films center on.

The film that I got to collaborate with Dr. V on was Blood Quantum by director Jeff Barnaby. 

The indigenous people in the isolated reserve of Red Crow are immune to the zombie plague that has taken over the nation, but that doesn’t mean their lives aren’t at risk. It’s up to Traylor (Michael Greyeyes, “Fear the Walking Dead”), the tribal sheriff, to protect the families residing on the reserve and a flood of desperate refugees from the hordes of bloodthirsty, walking white corpses that are closing in.

Click here to rent/purchase Blood Quantum.

The term “blood quantum” refers the racist concept that one’s “Indianness” can be quantified by the amount of “Indian blood” that one possesses. Historically, the idea of blood quantum emerged as a way to construct racial identity to benefit the dominant white society. The idea was as the blood of indigenous people became “diluted” that they would disappear – and with them any legal obligations the government had or any obstacle that they represented for the growth of white society.

The premise of Blood Quantum –that the Indigenous people of Red Crow are immune to becoming zombies–seems to be incredibly positive (as much as anything can be in a zombie film), students in Dr. V’s class were quick to pick up on the quote from the movie that being “immune to the plague doesn’t mean immune to being eaten alive.” They saw how the immunity actually served as another method to ensure the destruction of Native people – there would be no Indigenous people left while hordes of white zombies still roamed everywhere. However, their immunity did give members of the Red Crow reservation a power that was denied to all others in the movie.

As you can see, there was a lot for the students to unpack while watching the film. Below are just a few of the issues/metaphors that students investigated. 

If they’re red, they are dead. If they’re white, they bite.

By no means are these all the ways that the movie serves as commentary regarding historical and contemporary issues in Indian Country nor are the examples given below the only ones that can be found in the movie.

Current conditions of Native reservations

Early on in the movie, there is a discussion about how all the tetanus shots in the clinic have been taken by the emergency department.  Students saw this scene as connected to reservations given the historical and contemporary actions of resources being taken by the government and other for profit industries.

Students also discussed that how the compound was set up to protect against zombies was similar to modern reservations given its lack of electricity, heat, sanitation, and other vital supplies.  

Red Crow Reservation during the zombie apocalypse. 

Dishonesty towards Native people(s) and communities 

There is a scene where a father is trying to bring his clearly sick/injured daughter into the compound. When asked if she had been bitten the father denied it, however the bite mark was easily found on her neck.

There was also a character named Lilith who showed up with the father and daughter who also had a bite wound on her stomach, which she never disclosed while accepting the help and security being offered.

The dishonesty by the father and Lilith in their attempt to get what they wanted – no matter the cost to those who were trying to help them – reminded the students of both the historical and contemporary treatments of Indigenous people where information was intentionally kept from them and did not allow them to make informed decisions (such as the abhorrent lying that took place when Indian Health Services forcibly sterilized young women in the 1970s)

Father holding his infected daughter.

Destruction of Native families

The deaths of numerous characters throughout the movie is not the only way that the destruction of Indigenous families is portrayed within the film. One of the aspects of the movie that students noticed in connection to this was the fact that the character of Lysol had been placed within the foster care system. The statement in the movie that “he left an Alan and came back a Lysol” also demonstrates the trauma that is prevalent within the system and how it can change the entire personality of a child.

Placing Native children into the foster care system is a direct result of the same federal policies which lead to the creation of native boarding schools. The foster care system has played such a destructive role in the harming of Native families and communities that the state of Maine convened  the Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate the trauma that resulted from decades long policies related to Native children in the state of Maine. (Dawnland is an award winning documentary about the Commissions work)

Joss, Joseph, and Joseph’s newborn daughter on the run from zombies.

Missing and murdered indigenous women

The absence of a person makes it easy for them to be overlooked, however students in the class were very aware that the mother of the character Lysol was mentioned a few times but never seen. One part of dialogue that the students brought up was when Joseph says, “The whole reservation knows what happened to his mom” but then nothing more about what happened is said.

The fact that the audience never learns the name of Lysol’s mother is another connection to missing and murdered Indigenous women. While the shooting of unarmed Black men is a crisis within society, at least we know the names of George Floyd, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and countless others. It is a sad commentary on our society that the average person cannot name even one Indigenous woman who has been murdered or who is currently missing.

Joseph and Joss talking about Lysol

Biological warfare

There is a scene where the father of the daughter who died outside of the camp due to a zombie bite brings in the blanket that she had been wrapped up in. When Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs’ character Charlie notices the blanket she grabs it from the man and throws it into a fire while yelling at him that he cannot bring that into the reservation.

The students immediately understood that this scene was meant to evoke the histories of blankets infected with smallpox being given to native people as a method to murder them.

Charlie taking the infected blanket to be burned

Destruction of natural and other resources

One of the topics with which students were already familiar was protests against the destruction of the environment and areas of cultural significance by the construction of gas and oil pipelines. Many Indigenous communities have set up blockades, particularly on bridges, to stop the movement of workers and machines.

The imagery created by the barricade on the bridge to stop zombies from crossing into the reservation is incredibly similar to the pictures from protest sites such as DAPL/Standing Rock.

Barricade on bridge to stop zombies from entering Red Crow Reservation

Christian God used to defend the treatment of Native people(s) and communities

The use of biblical words and the concept of God has been used for centuries to rationalize the inhumane treatment of native people.

“For it pleased God to visit these Indians with a great sickness, and such a mortality that of a thousand above nine hundred and a half of them died, and many of them did rot above ground for want of burial”   – Gov. William Bradford

“For the natives, they are near all dead of the smallpox, so the Lord hath cleared our title to what we possess.”  – Gov. John Winthrop

In the first moments of the movie an “Ancient Settler Proverb” appears:

“Take heed thyself that thou make no treaty with the inhabitants of the land for when they whore themselves to their demons and sacrifice to them, you will eat their sacrifices. And when you chose some of their daughters for your sons they will lead your sons to do the same.”

Some of the students were aware that the “Ancient Settler Proverb” was in fact Exodus 34:12. 

Ancient Settler Proverb

Another interesting connection the movie made was to something that director Jeff Barnaby experienced as a child.

In June of 1981, Lucien Lessard, Quebec Minister of Recreation, Hunting, and Fishing instigated conflict with Mi’kmaq living on Restigouche (now Listugui) by demanding that they remove all nets from their traditional fishing waters. Salmon fishing was vital to the survival of those on the reservation there were, unsurprisingly there was intense pushback from community members. Instead of dealing with the issue peaceably, Lessard sent about 400 Quebec Provincial Police to engage in a brutal raid on the reservation. 

Documentary “Incident at Restigouche”

These events were captured in the documentary “Incident at Restigouche” and Barnaby has commented numerous times on how this film influenced his career. One of the scenes is that of an elder talking about how he took an ax and drew “a line for them not to come any further.”

Elder speaking about how he stood up to the forces illegally entering Restigouche.

A hyper-specific homage to the violent events of 1981 at Restigouche and this elder in particular is found in the animated scene were Gisigu takes a sword to defend against zombies.

Scene from movie that references the attack on Restigouche

So, if zombie movies are your thing, you might consider watching this particular movie and I hope that this blog post will make your viewing richer in your understanding of how it serves as a commentary on issues within Indian Country.

For more about Blood Quantum:

Jeff Barnaby Made an Apocalypse Movie to Watch the System Fall. Then a Pandemic Hit

PODCAST: Jeff Barnaby talks about his indigenous zombie film Blood Quantum

Decolonizing the zombie apocalypse:  An interview with Jeff Barnaby about his new film ‘Blood Quantum’

Missing the Meaning – Understanding the Material Culture of Protest

Contributed by Lindsay Randall

Recently I collaborated with Dr. Miriam Villanueva of the Department of History and Social Science at Phillips Academy to create a new lesson that focused on both the American Indian Movement and the takeover of Alcatraz Island in 1969 by Native activists. 

Our focus was to have students understand how Native protests are centered around issues regarding tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, and meaningful intergovernmental consultation. We also sought to highlight how the ignorance of the American public regarding these issues perpetuates misconceptions about these protests while also connecting them to modern issues.

To do this we examined two protest signs; one from the 1969 Alcatraz Occupation and one from the recent Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)/Standing Rock protests. 

We asked the students to investigate the two types of meaning perceived in each of the signs: 

1.) the general public’s understanding of the sign. 

2.) the message the originator of the sign intended to convey. 

During the activity the students worked together to create the following interpretations of each of the protest signs we examined, based on other contextual information that we used.

For background information about the Alcatraz Protest

Incorrect Response: Native Americans are welcomed at the Island because it has always been Indian Land.
Correct Response: It is a commentary on how white people have simply taken what they wanted and Native people are now just simply playing by the same rules.

The students came to the conclusion that this particular sign is meant more as a commentary on the method used to claim Native land in the past – and less about saying all land was once Native land – when they read the following passage from the Proclamation written by Richard Oaks and other protesters at Alcatraz.

Proclamation to the Great White Father and All His People

We, the native Americans, re-claim the land known as Alcatraz Island in the name of all American Indians by right of discovery.
We wish to be fair and honorable in our dealings with the Caucasian inhabitants of this land, and hereby offer the following treaty:

We will purchase said Alcatraz Island for twenty-four dollars ($24) in glass beads and red cloth, a precedent set by the white man's purchase of a similar island about 300 years ago. We know that $24 in trade goods for these 16 acres is more than was paid when Manhattan Island was sold, but we know that land values have risen over the years. Our offer of $1.24 per acre is greater than the 47¢ per acre that the white men are now paying the California Indians for their land. We will give to the inhabitants of this island a portion of that land for their own, to be held in trust by the American Indian Affairs [sic] and by the bureau of Caucasian Affairs to hold in perpetuity—for as long as the sun shall rise and the rivers go down to the sea. We will further guide the inhabitants in the proper way of living. We will offer them our religion, our education, our life-ways, in order to help them achieve our level of civilization and thus raise them and all their white brothers up from their savage and unhappy state. We offer this treaty in good faith and wish to be fair and honorable in our dealings with all white men.

Next we turned our attention to the recent protests around the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Standing Rock Sioux community. For background information on the DAPL/Standing Rock protests.

Incorrect Response: The protesters are violent!
Correct Response: The sign is satire and a play on “Kill the Indian, Save the Man” policy.

To interpret this particular sign the students drew upon their knowledge of Indian Boarding Schools that we covered in Fall Term. They remembered the program of “Kill the Indian, Save the Man” that lead to the creation of the Indian boarding schools.

The students thoughtfully came to the conclusion that the protester was mimicking the phrase “Kill the Indian, Save the Man” to imply that if one removes the capitalist nature of the “Pilgrim” (or white man) that the water and environment will be saved.

We then ended the lesson with a group discussion about how these protests are all connected to each other while at the same time connected to sites and ancestors that are thousands of years old. The students also came up with possible solutions to ensure that the public has a better understanding of the reasons behind the protests so that their ultimate goals are not misinterpreted, thus undermining the power of the protest.

The conversations and points that the students in each of Dr. V’s three classes were incredibly thoughtful and perceptive. Both Dr. V and I thought that this was one of our best lessons that we have created because it seamlessly brought together modern and historical issues while engaging students in close reading of primary sources, mirroring the exact process that students are currently working through for their History 300 research papers.

Much of this lesson was based on the amazing work of April Beisaw and Glynnis E. Olin in their article From Alcatraz to Standing Rock: Archaeology and Contemporary Native American Protests (1969-Today)

dIPPIN’ iN: Quick Conversations with Archaeologists

Contributed by Lindsay Randall

Given how wildly successful our Diggin’ In: Digital Lecture series has been, we wanted to expand how our audiences can interact with archaeologists from around the country. 

Our new project – dIPPIN’ IN: Quick Conversations with Archaeologists – highlights the variety of jobs and experiences archaeologists can have by asking each person the same five questions:

  • Describe what kind of archaeology you focus on.
  • How did you get into archaeology?
  • Why should we care about archaeology and history?
  • What is the most exciting thing you ever found?
  • Anything else people should know about archaeology?

It is fascinating to learn about each archaeologist’s career path and what initially hooked them. And, while some answers have been remarkedly similar many are wildly different!

If you want a glimpse into the exciting field of archaeology through the personal lens of an archaeologist, this series is for you.

As we continue to add to the series, you can find the videos here.

And, if you are an archaeologist who wants to participate or if there is someone you want us to interview – let us know!

Technology Meets Creativity at the Peabody

Contributed by Lindsay Randall

This winter I have been exploring and learning a new online platform – PowToon

PowToon is a digital platform that is used to create fully customized videos for a variety of audiences. The videos can be short or long (max 20 min) and can include cartoon elements or real images and video.

My first video is targeted toward new faculty at the school who may not know how they can work with the Peabody. An engaging, fun video – in addition to our course catalogue – will hopefully bring new collaborations and faculty to the Peabody.

I am excited to continue learning this program and producing videos to highlight and augment our educational initiatives and digital programs such as Diggin’ In.

Diggin’ In: Season 2

Contributed by Lindsay Randall

We are tremendously excited to announce the continuation of Diggin’ In: Digital Conversations with Archaeologist. Co-hosted by the Peabody Institute and the Massachusetts Archaeological Society the lecture series brings leading experts and their work directly to our viewers. All lectures are free and open to the public.

Building on the success of the inaugural season of Diggin’ In, which reached over 1000 individuals, Season 2 promises to continue to be especially robust. Outstanding scholars such as Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptist, Dr. Lindsay Montgomery, and Kimberly Smith will cover fascinating topics ranging from Black feminist archaeology, to Comanche rock art, to the artifact patterning of the Victorian practice of picnicking in cemeteries.

Join us on Wednesday January 27, 2021 for the launch of the new season with Joe Bagley, Boston City Archaeologist for his talk Privy to the Past: The History of (and in) Privies. All lectures begin at 1:30 pm. 

If you want to attend one or all of these lectures, please sign up at rspeabody@andover.edu to get on the ZOOM invitation list.

Each episode will be recorded and uploaded to YouTube afterwards.

A Wreck Has Been Wrecked

Contributed by Lindsay Randall

Last fall I had the opportunity to work with students and faculty in Outdoor Pursuits in a unique way. Ranbel Sun, Stephanie Cormier, and Miriam Villanueva learned that I knew about a terrestrial ship wreck that the students could visit and asked me to join them on their planned outing to Crane Beach, where the wreck has rested for over 100 years.

Outdoor Pursuits visiting the Ada K. Damon in 2019

The shipwreck that we visited was of the Ada K. Damon in Ipswich, MA. It is a great place to bring students to learn more about maritime archaeology since it is accessible at low tide. Salem State University and partner SEAMAHP have also done field schools at the site.

The Ada K. Damon was a schooner built in 1875 by H.A. Burnham Boat Building (still in operation today!). By 1909, the owner was Captain A.K. Brewster who had sold his property and used the proceeds, along with all his savings, to invest in the ship.

It a bout of terrible luck, it was during her first voyage for Brewster that the Ada K. Damon was wrecked. She was caught in what locals called the “Great Christmas Snowstorm.” That storm was also responsible for destroying many other ships on Cape Ann.

Since 1909, she has sat on the sands of Crane Beach at the base of Steep Hill and become quite a tourist attraction for visitors.

Sadly, due to the strong surf that resulted from Hurricane Teddy, the Ada K. Damon has been broken up and strewed across the beach. 

Both Dave Robinson, the current state underwater archaeologist for Massachusetts, and his predecessor Vic Mastone will survey the damage.

While I hope that the damage isn’t too extensive and that I will be able to bring future students back to this shipwreck, it does serve as an example about the fragility of archaeological sites.

Diggin’ In: Digital Speaker Series

Contributed by Lindsay Randall

Part of the missions of both R.S. Peabody Institute and the Massachusetts Archaeological Society is to engage and connect with all who are interested in archaeology. Since we are unable to do this in person, both institutions are excited to announce our joint digital speaker series: Diggin’ In.

This series show cases live presentations with archaeologists from across the United States who will take questions directly from you!

Different topics will be covered during each 30 min episodes, which start live at 1:30 pm (EST) every other Wednesday and then will be posted to YouTube afterwards.

Sign up through the following emails to get on the ZOOM invitation list:

 rspeabody@andover.edu or info@massarchaeology.org 

While we are excited to welcome all our speakers digitally to our campus and community, we are particularly pleased to have Dr. Meg Conkey and Dr. Kristina Douglass join us.

In addition to her work at University of California, Berkeley and in France, Dr. Conkey is also a current member of the R.S. Peabody’s advisory board.

And while Phillips Academy might be unfamiliar to some of our speakers, that is certainly not the case for Dr. Kristina Douglass who graduated from PA in 2002. It will be fun to welcome her “home” even if it is remotely.

Our complete slate of speakers are as follows

Episode 1

Paleolithic Cave Paintings

Dr. Margaret Conkey

Wednesday June 24, 2020

Episode 2

Strawbery Banke Museum

Dr. Alix Martin

Wednesday July 8, 2020

Episode 3

Community and Resilience 

Dr. Kristina Douglass, ‘02

Wednesday July 22, 2020

Episode 4

LiDAR and Archaeology

Dr. Katharine Johnson

Wednesday August 5, 2020

Episode 5

Archaeobotony

Dr. William Farley

Wednesday August 19, 2020

Episode 6

Archaeogeology

Dr. Suanna Selby Crowley 

Wednesday Sept. 9, 2020

Episode 7

 pXRF Studies of Glass

Grace Bello

Wednesday Sept. 23, 2020

Episode 8

National Parks

Dania Jordon

Wednesday Oct. 7, 2020

Episode 9

Underwater Archaeology

David Robinson

Wednesday Oct. 21, 2020

Episode 10

Bull Brook 

Jennifer Ort

Wednesday Nov. 11, 2020