Sara Gonzalez, Ph.D. (University of Washington, Seattle)

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Research interestsgonzalez-photo

An archaeologist by training, I work at the inter­sec­tion of tribal his­toric preser­va­tion, colo­nial stud­ies, and pub­lic his­tory. My research specif­i­cally exam­ines how community-based par­tic­i­pa­tory approaches to research improves the empir­i­cal and inter­pre­tive qual­ity of archae­o­log­i­cal nar­ra­tives, while also sit­u­at­ing archae­ol­ogy within a more respect­ful and engaged prac­tice. As a core fea­ture of this work I am explor­ing the diverse appli­ca­tions of minimally invasive field methods and dig­i­tal media as tools for con­tribut­ing to the capac­ity of tribal com­mu­ni­ties to man­age their his­toric and envi­ron­men­tal resources. This work cen­ters on my ongo­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion with tribal communities in California, Oregon, and Washington. In con­junc­tion with these projects I have devel­oped mul­ti­ple class­room, lab, and field school pro­grams that pro­vide under­grad­u­ate and grad­u­ate stu­dents with the oppor­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate directly in research with tribal com­mu­ni­ties that con­tributes to their capac­ity to study, man­age, and rep­re­sent their heritage.

This work centers on my ongoing collaboration with the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians at Fort Ross State Historic Park (FRSHP), a former Russian-American Company mercantile settlement (1812-1841) in northern California. The settlement was founded within the Kashaya’s homeland, Metini.  Community-based participatory research with both the tribal community and the California Department of Parks and Recreation has been used to create an archaeology that works for the tribal community, is conducted in accordance with their cultural values and that, ultimately, empowers them in the management of Kashaya heritage within Metini.

Since joining the faculty at the University of Washington, Seattle in 2013 I ini­ti­ated a new, multi-year community-based part­ner­ship with the Con­fed­er­ated Tribes of Grand Ronde Com­mu­nity of Ore­gon (CTGR) and their Tribal His­toric Preser­va­tion Office (THPO). The goal of this col­lab­o­ra­tion is twofold: first, to document the development of the 19th century Grand Ronde reservation landscape and, sec­ond, to con­tribute to the capac­ity of the CTGR THPO to man­age tribal cul­tural resources on its reser­va­tion lands.

professional service

My interests in diversity and social justice research extends to my professional commitments, wherein I have used my position as both an elected member of the Society for American Archaeology’s Committee on Native American Relations and Chair of the Indigenous Populations Interest Group to develop strategies for making archaeology more inclusive of indigenous and other marginalized communities.  In both roles I have worked with the SAA to increase the attendance and participation of Native Americans and Indigenous peoples in the national society and its meetings.  Both the committee and interest group provide critical support and professional development to both Indigenous and non-indigenous scholars involved in collaborative and community-based participatory research.


I am Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Washington, Seattle.  In addition to this position I am an adjunct curator of the Burke Museum and affiliate faculty in Comparative History of Ideas and at the Quaternary Research Center at UW.

Selected publications


Lightfoot, Kent and Sara Gonzalez (2016) The Archaeology of Metini Village: The Archaeological Study of Sustained Colonialism. Contributions of the Archaeological Research Facility, Vol. 67, Archaeology Research Facility, University of California, Berkeley, accepted for publication 2015.

Journal Articles (*Peer Reviewed)

*Gonzalez, Sara (2016) Indigenous Values and Methods in Archaeological Practice: Low-Impact Archaeology through the Kashaya Pomo Interpretive Trail Project. American Antiquity, in press.

Gonzalez, Sara (2015) Of Homelands and Archaeology: Two Indigenous, Collaborative Approaches to Archaeology with California Tribal Communities. SAA Archaeological Record 15(1):29-32.

Gonzalez, Sara and Ora Marek-Martinez (2015) NAGPRA and the Next Generation of Collaboration: Editors’ Introduction. SAA Archaeological Record 15(1):11-13.

*Lightfoot, Kent, Lee M. Panich, Tsim D. Schneider, and Sara Gonzalez (2013)     European Colonialism and the Anthropocene: A View from the Pacific Coast of North America. Anthropocene 2(1):e1-e15.

*Lightfoot, Kent, Lee Panich, Tsim Schneider, Sara Gonzalez, Matt Russell, and Elliot Blair (2013) The Study of Indigenous Political Economies and Colonialism: Implications for Contemporary Tribal Groups and Federal Recognition. American Antiquity 78(1):89-104.

*Lightfoot, Kent, Sara Gonzalez and Tsim Schneider (2009) Refugees and Interethnic Residences: Examples of Colonial Entanglements in the North San Francisco Bay Area. Pacific Coast Archaeological Society Quarterly 42(1):1-21.

*Gonzalez, Sara, Darren Modzelewski, Lee Panich and Tsim Schneider (2006)        Archaeology for the Seventh Generation. American Indian Quarterly 30(3):388-415.

Book Chapters

*Schneider, Tsim, Sara Gonzalez, Kent Lightfoot, Lee Panich, and Matt Russell (2011)     A Land of Cultural Pluralism: Case Studies from California’s Colonial Frontiers. In California: Contemporary Issues in the Archaeology of a Goodly Llande, edited by Terry Jones and Jennifer Perry. Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek.


Gonzalez, Sara (2015) Writing with Community. Savage Minds ed. by Carole McGranahan.

Gonzalez, Sara (2013)   Response to Zeitgeist: Ceri Houlbrook. Archaeological Research Facility, Berkeley.


Lightfoot, Kent G., Peter Nelson, Roberta A. Jewett, Rob Q. Cuthrell, Paul Mondragon, Nicholas Tripcevich and Sara Gonzalez (2013) The Archaeological Investigation of McCabe Canyon, Pinnacles National Park. Report submitted to the National Parks Service.

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