John Pryor: “We Travel Together: A New Archeology that Blends Western Science and Native American Heart”

Join SCAS for “We Travel Together: A New Archeology that Blends Western Science and Native American Heart,” a talk by John Pryor, Ph.D, California State University, Fresno. The talk will be held on January 11, 2018, at 7:30 pm at the Santa Cruz Live Oak Grange Hall at 1900 17th Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062 (click here for Google Maps directions).

Dr. Pryor will discuss a new type of archeology that he has been developing over the last several years through insights from CSU-Fresno’s Archaeological Field School at the Grandad site in the central Sierra Nevada. In 2016, the insight was that the archaeology he had practiced for 45 years was no longer working for him, and that it was time to create a whole new archaeology that blended the best of Western Science with Native American perspectives and traditions. As Dr. Pryor puts it,

That year, I was lucky enough to have Jake Hunter from the Tule River Rancheria join the field school. He enriched everyone’s experience with his stories and songs. While driving home during our midpoint break, with the Mother Bear Song going through my head, the idea came to me to create this new kind of archaeology, thus one might say that I received a gift from the Mother Bear Spirit. I was excited, and when I returned to Grandad, I talked to Jake Hunter about it. He said, “wow, that is going to be a long journey.” My response was, “Yes, but it is one we will journey on together.” Thus, the name of this approach to archaeology was born–“We Journey Together.” The name suggests the need to develop this approach in collaboration with Native Americans. It is not a rejection of Western Science, for there is still much that this approach can teach us, but it is a realization that it is not the only path to knowing.

Dr. Pryor is an archeologist with over 45 years of field experience, mostly working in California, but also in England and the eastern United States. This work has spanned traditional academic archeology, Cultural Resources Management, and 15 years working as a consultant for Native American Tribes in California. Dr. Pryor received his BA in Anthropology from UC Santa Cruz in 1979 and his PhD. in Anthropology in 1988 from the State University of New York at Binghamton, with a dissertation on Pomo baskets. Dr. Pryor is currently a Full Professor in the Anthropology Department at CSU-Fresno.

A symbol of the new approach: a clapper stick intertwined with a trowel

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