Contact: Doug Wilson, Archaeologist, (360) 921-5241
On January 8, 2016, the Society of Historical Archaeology recognized Dr. Doug C. Wilson and the Fort Vancouver Public Archaeology Field School as the winner of the 2016 Diversity Field School Competition. The award, sponsored by the Gender and Minority Affairs Committee (GMAC) of the Society, and supported by Springer and Left Coast Press, was given by the President of the Society at its 49th Annual Conference in Washington D.C.
The award recognizes field schools in historical archaeology that foster diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, and socio-economic background in archaeological research objectives, perspectives, and participation. The joint National Park Service, Portland State University and Washington State University Vancouver field school at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site epitomized how a public archaeology program could convey the importance of archaeology to diverse youth and urban communities in the Portland/Vancouver metropolitan area while exploring a multicultural colonial community.
Diversity in the past and present was a theme of the public archaeology field school. Fort Vancouver contained one of the largest colonial settlements in the Pacific Northwest ca. 1829-1845, with residents of American Indian, Native Hawaiian, Métis, and other ancestry. The school fostered this through student diversity training, engagement with the public, including disadvantaged and nontraditional youth, and participation in special events that connect traditional communities to the site. Among other events, field school students witnessed the protocols of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe on their annual canoe journey, and assisted with visits by the Ke Kukui Foundation, a local Native Hawaiian and Polynesian organization.
The field school embraced the National Park Service's Centennial goals of engaging youth and urban communities in park activities. The field school gave the increasingly diverse populations of the Portland/Vancouver metropolitan area access to the early history of diversity in the Pacific Northwest, while field school students gained valuable skills and insight in the topics of racism, diversity, and cultural resources.
In the announcement, Dr. Flordeliz T. Bugarin, Chair of the Committee and Associate Professor in the African Studies Department of Howard University, stated, "We were extremely impressed with all of the efforts you and your colleagues have made to integrate diversity initiatives into your field school."
"Across the National Park System we are working to connect more effectively with diverse communities," said Chip Jenkins, Director of the National Park Service's Pacific West Region. "We are pleased to see the field school held up as a positive example that others may emulate."
Dr. Doug Wilson said, "I am extremely honored to accept this award on behalf of the partners, staff, and students of the Public Archaeology Field School at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. This national recognition reflects the hard work that we have done to make our work relevant to all the people of the Portland/Vancouver area and to reach out to visitors from across the globe to tell the compelling stories of Fort Vancouver."
Last updated: January 19, 2016