Coming home to my own bed and my own coffee maker was great. I do miss the ravens cawing in the morning, though I’m sure fellow classmates would disagree. Looking back on the time I spent in Grand Ronde I came to a few conclusions. First of all I learned a ton. An understatement for sure, but accurate nonetheless. I learned about the area and community I was a part of for the duration of FMIA. The Grand Ronde Tribal Historic Preservation Office and wider community offered a wealth of knowledge about practice, place, person, and time. If you have read any of the other blog posts about the technology we encountered and learned how to use in the field you would know we had our work cut out for us.
Second conclusion-you can’t turn archaeology off in a person. A few days ago I finally came home and the next afternoon my brother and I went fishing out on the river. We hadn’t talked much while I was in Oregon so we were catching up, or mostly I was asking a million and one questions about the river and the fishing spot we were headed out to. Until finally, Kyle (my brother) turned around with a grin and said, “I am so happy they finally got you to stop questioning if a question is stupid to ask, now you ask all the questions.” We laughed and that’s when it hit me, I’ve always asked questions, not they are just more direct and come in a sequential pattern. As an archaeologist, how you approach a situation or discovery is critical. Asking good questions, in the right order may affect how you perceive the situation and decide on the next steps to take.
Third, not everyone is interested in archaeology. Yes, I know. Shock. Gasp. It’s alright. Since coming home I’ve explained what FMIA is and what we had done this summer multiple times. Coming from living and working with people who love archaeology to living with my family whose interests range from farming, carpentry, hairstyling to accounting has been a learning experience. I had to remember to explain archaeology in terms that connected with everyone’s different interests in order to make it relevant to how they see the world. Everyone is interested in something, my team and I happen to fall into the category of those who have archaeological interests. I got a one minuet explanation of what I did this summer down rather quickly. This was of course after a few conversations where my audience had glazed over eyes and a lost look to their person. Elevator speech down. Boom.
Lastly, I conclude with thanks. A massive thank you that will still fall short of how much the five weeks spent in Grand Ronde meant to me. FMIA was welcomed, fed, and granted permission to work on tribal property. We were research partners. I am immensely grateful to be a part of a field school where trust and relationships have been established. I know that this field school will have impact on how I conduct research in the future and it will all (hopefully) be community based.

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