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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Comments on "Puvunga and Point Conception: A Comparative Study of Southern California Indian Traditionalism," by Matthew A. Boxt and L. Mark Raab


In commenting on the Boxt and Raab article, the primary point I raise here concerns the competence of contemporary archaeological research. I think it is naive to think that we can practice a totally objective archaeology that is divorced from the social concerns, political pressures, and funding constraints of today. Archaeological research is conducted for a variety of reasons and for divergent clients and funding agencies. Collaboration with involved stakeholders, especially native peoples who have a vested interest in the archaeological record, will continue to increase. I have no problem with archaeologists working closely with native groups to identify sacred sites or places, to assist them in becoming federally recognized, to develop strong and legitimate claims for the repatriation of culturally affiliated skeletal remains, associated funerary objects, and sacred objects, or to help them negotiate or promote their native identities to the broader public. My problem is with poor, sloppy, and/or inexcusable archaeological research.

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