What does Archaeology mean to me?

As a caretaker of artifacts, I know the importance of archaeology. I understand that I would not have some of the things that are in the collection I take care of if it were not for the archaeologist that did the work. Being able to participate in this project has helped me to understand the process that some artifacts go through before they are placed on my desk. After learning what I have so far, I have a new level of respect for people in this field.

As a tribal member, this project honestly made me a little nervous at first. My community invited people from outside to come in and start digging on our reservation. We have visited many of our important places, discussed sensitive topics with them and allowed them to live in our community. Once I was able to learn about community based archaeology and actually see the practices being used, I wasn’t as nervous anymore. It has also helped that my peers are respectful and kind. I know the importance of archaeology and I am very thankful that we ended up with the project leaders that we have. To see others get so excited and be genuinely interested in my community makes me happy.

Although the chance is very slim, I am still afraid of disturbing an ancestor. My professional mind understands this field of work while my personal feelings tell me to leave things as they are. It is challenging to work on something so important when you have to battle with personal feelings. I also get a little nervous about the community’s reaction. Once the other students are gone, they are gone. I will continue in my community and I don’t want this project to cause any negative feelings. Over all, I am glad that I can be a part of this historical event and that I am able to help educate my fellow classmates.

Who is Veronica?

Veronica is a student at Western Oregon University. She is getting ready to start her junior year in her pursuit of a Bachelor’s of Science in Anthropology with a minor in Forensic Anthropology. She currently holds two Associates degrees in Business related fields. As the first person in her family (for as long as can be traced back) to earn an associate’s degree, she will also be the first in her family to also achieve a bachelor’s.
Veronica is a mother of three children, a wife, a full time student, a full time employee and a tribal member. As a Grand Ronde Tribal member, Veronica was especially interested in the 2015 Archaeology field school in Grand Ronde. She is the Collections Supervisor at the tribe’s museum and cultural center where she has been for the last five years. This field school allows her a rare opportunity in many aspects. She will be learning skills that will directly relate to her job, be a part of something that has never happened before and be earning credit towards her degree. Her place in the community will allow her the ability to serve as a bridge between the community and the students at UW.
Born and raised in Oregon, Veronica has strong connections to the area being studied. She hopes to help her peers learn more while also learning valuable skills herself. With firsthand knowledge of curation practices, it is her hopes to help teach the future archaeologist some important skills about handling artifacts that they will be able to use in their future careers. She is looking forward to all that comes with attending a field school and especially meeting her peers.