June 2021 – Graduate student
Jacque Kocer – Oglala Sioux Tribe
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Scholarship: BIE (Bureau of Indian Education) – Loan for Service
School: University of New Mexico
I incorporated a nonprofit, Indigenous Archaeological Research and Training program, in January 2021 that directly benefits Indigenous communities. The program is for Native American students promoting Indigenous sovereignty over ancestral cultural and natural resources while preserving New Mexico’s vast heritage. The program will sponsor cultural revitalization efforts and facilitate a rebalancing of power dynamics between Indigenous peoples and mainstream America. We believe that the past can best be studied by archaeological scientists collaborating with descendant groups to empower Indigenous communities leading to a more comprehensive understanding of Indigenous technology and lifeways. Our primary goal is to be a steward of archaeologically sacred sites for descendant communities. Collaboration and training are essential to help preserve and protect our cultural heritage for future generations.
The history of archaeological research in New Mexico has been entangled with colonial agendas and mistrust, where too often, Indigenous people were treated as objects to be studied and quantified. As Indigenous archaeologists, we envision a more productive way to study archaeology through collaborative work with tribal entities where research is conducted on their own terms, benefiting their own communities. Native people will decide what aspects of research can be shared with the public and larger scientific community.
Funds from the AIGC Loan for Service have allowed me to make progress to finish my dissertation at the University of New Mexico. Furthermore, AIGC has provided me with the inspiration and opportunity to incorporate a nonprofit that will benefit my communities.