Project Capstone: Re-writing Burien and White Center’s history with communicative narratives

 Re-writing Burien and White Center’s history with communicative narratives, and arming its people with resources to fight massive tenant evictions

After the amazing journey of having studied the differences between narrative community histories, and those official accounts, as well as looking at the wave of tenant evictions, these are the conclusions I’m taking with me, as well as the continuation of this project in collaboration with WCCDA and Future Wise:

  • We find ourselves in a smaller community on the outskirts of a larger metropolitan area that still harbors a predominantly old blue-collar, working class, white conservative population, which is similar to those earlier colonial settlers that started exploiting the land for timber.

 

  • This conservative community has clashed with the immigration waves from different corners of the world where the US started or collaborated on wars: According to some integration programs from WCCDA, even though POC and older white folks might get along when they live door to door, there is still a fear of being “erased” by those conservative folks: Leading to hate-motivated actions like the publishing of a list of “illegal and criminal immigrants” on a map that scared many people, where Hugo Garcia commented as well on several articles:
  • https://www.kuow.org/stories/after-controversial-flier-burien-neighbors-fight-back-love-letters “After controversial flier, Burien neighbors fight back with ‘love letters’”

 

  • Negative stereotypes rooted in earlier late 1800’s days, still prevail, marking this area as “no the most desirable to live” and therefore, making prices low and habitable for these immigrant communities. However, I believe these stereotypes also give people in power the permission to remove them as gentrification advances.

 

  • These negative stereotypes could be used against targeted immigrant communities in times of Trump, following up to those hateful fliers depicting latinx people as “drug dealers, criminals etc”, and give more permission to “those in power” to displace people in larger numbers.

 

  • I believe that by collecting narrative accounts and putting all the different programs and resources that these associations do for the community in one single, attractive and easy to use website, people who are either moving in or afraid that they might be displaced, it will be beneficial!

 

Place Names in the Arctic and the Role of Archaeology Today

Scan your eyes over a standard-issue map of North America, and you will find names of European political leaders, explorers, and places repeated across the Canadian Arctic: Victoria Island, Melville Peninsula, Cambridge Bay. These names offer little acknowledgement of Inuit presence, which extends for millennia across the land, ice, and water today known as the Canadian Arctic. For my final project in Historical Archaeology, I explored community-based research on Inuit place names and how that can help us understand memory, identity, colonialism, and interpretation in the Arctic. Interwoven with place names are the politics of colonialism, the sovereignty of language, and the creation of historical narratives through interpretation.

The most striking result of my research was how colonial legacies continue to influence narratives of history, identity, and indigeneity today. Archaeologists have the ability to use their work to deconstruct colonial systems put in place to disrupt the communication of traditional knowledge––known as Inuit qaujimajatuqangit––and to advance social justice in the Arctic. For academics used to controlling every aspect of research design and execution, sharing authority with communities can be an unsettling. But I would argue that for archaeology to remain relevant in today’s world, the field can no longer hold itself apart and above the people in it.

About Me – Lizzy

Hello everyone! I go by Lizzy and I am a first year graduate student in the Archaeology program here at UW. I wandered around the national parks for about five years before grad school, working with curators, archivists, and archaeologists to make park collections more accessible to the public. Side note: almost every national park has a significant museum and archives collection –– go enjoy them!

At UW, I want to work with communities in the Alaskan and Canadian Arctic to explore cultural and natural resource management in the face of a rapidly changing environment. Guided by my UW mentors and the decolonizing methodologies of Amy Lonetree and Linda Tuhiwai Smith, I am here to learn ethical modes of academic research and professional practice before I wander back out and help decolonize curation in the national parks. Until then, hello! #findyourpark #resistcuration #decolonizeordie