“We Ask Only That You Come to Us with an Open Heart and an Open Mind”

The Transformative Power of a Humble Archaeology of the Heart
  • Tanja Hoffmann


Indigenous scholars propose that the outside researchers most useful to Indigenous communities are those willing to engage in a process of self-discovery and transformation. These researchers are willing to learn from, not just about, the people they work with. This paper contemplates the challenges and opportunities that arise when archaeologists embark on a transformative journey. I use personal examples drawn from two decades of conducting archaeology with and for Indigenous communities to suggest ways in which heart-centred archaeology can transform our discipline. I conclude that an “archaeology of heart” is grounded in, and practiced through, humility.


Humility Indigenous archaeology Heart-centred archaeology Open heart Open mind Community-based archaeology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanja Hoffmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Postdoctoral Fellow, Indigenous Works and University of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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