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NWAC 2020 Sessions

A session is a group of presentations organized around a particular theme.

Please browse the sessions below. 

Some panel discussions are still open for additional discussants.

Session proposal abstract submissions are CLOSED.

Session participant abstract submissions are CLOSED.

Listed in alphabetical order.

ACRA Recap & Redux

Organizer: Kate Shantry (Washington State University)

Did you go to the American Cultural Resources Association conference in Spokane last October? If you didn’t make it, this session provides a recap of what went down and a redux of the “CRM Curriculum Gap” panel. Designed to use the feedback from ACRA and NWAC, we aim to develop ways to advance partnerships between Academia and the Cultural Resources industry. The session features a panel of CRM business owners and professors in Anthropology who discuss the current role of Academia in preparing students for careers in CRM, how prepared students are to enter the industry, and how to create more structured collaboration between colleges and CRM professionals.

Asian American Diaspora Archaeology in the Pacific Northwest

Organizer: Chelsea Rose (Southern Oregon University)

This session marks the second annual effort to bring together and highlight important work occurring across the region to document the archaeology of the Asian American diaspora. This year we have asked our participants to share research that aligns with the conference themes of collaboration, inclusivity, and the ways in which these previously untold stories are being commemorated, corrected, refined, or reimagined based on new data.

Colville Confederated Tribes' History/Archaeology Program: Partnerships and Perspectives of Tradition and Resources

Organizer: Robert Sloma (Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation's History/Archaeology Program

The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation’s History/Archaeology Program (CCT H/A) partners cooperatively with federal, state, tribal and local agencies, and others to ensure our history is not forgotten or diminished. For members of the CCT there is continuity between past and present. The presenters in this symposium demonstrate the efforts of the CCT History/Archaeology Program in preserving the traditional practices of the constituent Tribes of the CCT.  This session also depicts the importance of protecting tribal rights and sovereignty within the context of professional cultural resource management.

Creating Meaning and Identity:

Exploring South and East Asian Media and Material Cultural 

Organizer: Chancy Gatlin-Anderson (Washington State University)

In recent decades, industrialized Asian nations have made their mark on the world as producers of innovative material culture. This session will explore media and material culture with a specific focus on their roles in identity formation and the production of meaning in South Asia, East Asian, and among their diasporic communities. Session participants will discuss a broad range of topics including (1) production design and its impact on social hierarchies, labor, and artistic expression in the Hindi soap opera industry, (2) representations of female dress, media, and gender in Bollywood music videos, (3) unrepresented players in India’s fashion industry, (4) fashion magazine models and their role in Japan’s growing body positive movement, and (5) South Asian diasporic public culture and heritage. Together, session participants will draw conclusions about the production of meaning and identity.

Creative Mitigation Strategies Panel

Organizer: Lindsay Costigan (Anderson Perry & Associates, Inc.)

When navigating the process of forming mitigation solutions for projects with adverse effect, “tried and true” mitigation strategies often become the default. However, data recovery and informational signage are not always the best fits for a project. As our field moves away from destructive site excavation and the subsequent overburdening of available curation facilities, we must look to the future and get creative with mitigation measures. That being said, many cultural resource professionals are exploring alternative mitigation options, which include the use of new technologies and resources for sharing local history with the public. Let’s share strategies, ideas, and experience in creative mitigation!

Cultural Resource Issues and Conflicts in Indian Country

Organizer: Jon Shellenberger (Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation)

Cultural Resource Management in the Pacific Northwest is not without its controversy. Many of these controversies have been at the cost of resources significant to Tribes.  Unfortunately, with many of these occurrences, Tribal perspectives are not provided a time or space for meaningful dialogue. The risk to silencing vested parties is that there are no lessons learned. It is the goal of this session to share several perspectives on controversial issues that have involved resource destruction in the hopes that such mistakes will not happen again.

Session Full

Dig Safe! 19.122 RCW - Consultant Stories and Guidance on 811

Organizer: Alex Stevenson and Brandy Rinck (Association for Washington Archaeology)

This session provides an overview of 19.122 RCW, the Washington State law that requires all residents and those performing ground disturbing work in the state to “call before you dig.” Consultants will provide short reviews of their experiences with “call before you dig” and how they were able to obtain locates and get survey work done. Additionally, Don Evans from the Washington State 811 utility locate service will provide some guidance on best practices in regards to utility locates. Mr. Evans will provide tips for successful projects, as well as answers to all of your questions about utility locates. After the short presentations, this session will be an open discussion format. Please join us.

Engaging Hidden Contexts: New Examinations of Researcher Positionality (Panel)

Organizer: Nik Simurdak (Central Washington University) and Victoria Capell (Central Washington University)

Anthropologists are well aware that our personal context in relation to our research is crucial. Through intentional effort, we have become better at reflecting on our impacts to our own research. How do we expand this reflexivity to larger sociopolitical contexts? How do we examine how our own contexts affect not just our research, but our professional relationships and citational practices? In today’s technopolitical climate where information is more accessible, how do we critically engage in discussions about our place in the world and how it affects our professional lives? This roundtable discussion will examine the ways we contextualize the positionality of historic and modern researchers. We will also discuss how to engage new forms of information relevant to positionality discussions and how to unveil previously obscured information. Our place in the world affects more than just our research areas.

A note from the organizers: If you are interested in participating in this panel discussion, please contact

Geoarchaeology and Geophysics (Poster Session)

Organizer: Steven Hackenberger (Central Washington University)

Pacific Northwest geoarchaeology spans diverse depositional environments and several periods of changing climate conditions. Geophysics applications are growing in number and sophistication in both the field and lab. Stone tool sources, shell and bone, and sediment geochemistry are using XRF instrumentation. Magnetic susceptibility is used to characterize sediment weathering and soil formation in the field and lab. Paleomagnetism, while used for dating, can be used to study properties of fire modified rock. Ground penetrating radar, magnetometer, and resistance surveys are being combined to explore and protect archaeological sites and cemeteries. Posters in this session present research using a plurality of methods representing the intersection of several disciplines.

Hot Rocks: Fractures in Methodological Analysis in the Pacific Northwest (Poster Session)

Organizer: Kate Shantry (Washington State University)

The study of heated rocks is a subject often neglected in archaeological analyses and an artifact type that tends to mystify excavators when found outside of primary contexts. What can we learn from hot rocks? The posters in this session explore different methods for understanding human behavior in relation to one of the most ubiquitous artifact types found in the archaeological record. In the Pacific Northwest, the glaciated landscape provides vast quantities of rock types and shapes to choose from for different tasks. This session covers experiments and analyses involving paleomagnetism, thermoluminescence, thin sections and the way these techniques can be applied.

Idaho Public Archaeology: Lessons Learned from the Moscow High School Excavation

Organizer: Mark Warner (University of Idaho)

Since 2013 the University of Idaho has regularly investigated the recent history of Idaho through historical archaeology. During that, time archaeologists have conducted public excavations on at least eight sites—all of which were open to the general public.  UI continued that tradition in the fall of 2019, conducting a field school on the grounds of Moscow’s High School (a project initiated by some members of the high school faculty.). In many unexpected ways the project exceeded expectations with regards to the archaeological component of the project. On the other hand, there were also significant disappointments on the public engagement side of the project.  The session papers summarize the project.

Identifying and Assessing Indirect Effects Under Section 106

Organizer: Anna Neuzil (Bonneville Power Administration)

Interpretations of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and its implementing regulations (§36 CFR 800) frequently categorize effects to historic properties as either “direct” or “indirect”.  However, archaeologists and other cultural resources professionals often struggle to identify and assess indirect effects under Section 106.  In addition, a 2019 ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and subsequent memo from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation challenged commonly held interpretations of the definition of “indirect,” creating additional confusion amongst Section 106 practitioners.


With perspectives from SHPOs, agencies, tribes, and other cultural resources professionals from throughout the Pacific Northwest, this session will (1) review the legal interpretation of the difference between direct and indirect effects, and (2) provide examples of undertakings where indirect effects were successfully identified, consulted on, and mitigated, and (3) provide an understanding of the impacts of the ACHP guidance on compliance with Section 106.

A note from the organizer: 

This will be a lightening round with 5 minute presentations followed by a panel discussion.

International Inclusivity in Mesoamerican Archaeology

Organizer: Greg Smith (Northwest College)

This session brings together Mesoamericanists who are based in the greater Pacific Northwest to discuss their recent research and how international partnerships make it possible. The research covers several cultures and time periods in Mesoamerica along with a variety of methodological techniques and theoretical perspectives. The partnerships created to carry out research such as this includes working with government officials in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Belize at the federal, state, and local levels. Once fairly rare, creating collaborative relationships with professional archaeologists in the host countries is now commonplace. Last, hiring local workers—who are often the descendants of the ancient people being studied—is another element of Mesoamerican archaeology that makes it distinctively inclusive.

Localities of Healing: Nurturing Affinity between Diverse Communities in Repatriation

Organizer: Lourdes Henebry-DeLeon (Central Washington University) and Angela Neller (Wanapum Heritage Center)

We have stories to tell!  Discourse surrounding repatriation often focuses on the negative history and impacts to both tribal communities and institutions.  This session spotlights the centers of convergence amongst diverse communities that brings healing in the work of repatriation. Repatriation provides an opportunity to focus away from the external rhetoric and refocus on the ancestors and their journey home. Tribal and museum practitioners come together to engage and find common goals in the practice of repatriation. Nearing the 30 year anniversary of legislation, NAGPRA has evolved towards an increase in partnerships. Practitioners will look back on thirty years of repatriation work that has brought healing within and between tribal and institutional communities.

Nami Awtni Tiicham: Voices for our Sacred Lands 

Organizer: Jon Shellenberger (Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation)

For the first time in a very long time, Tribes have come together in the Kittitas Valley to discuss the current state of our resources. This session is a continued discussion of Tribal issues in anthropology, resource management and sacred lands that was framed by the Tribal Caucus held on Wednesday, March 25th. Given the plurality of voices across Indian Country in the Pacific Northwest, this time and space will provide an opportunity for participating Tribal representatives to share their individual perspectives.

Northwest History and Historical Archaeology (Poster Session)

Organizer: Bethany Mathews (Antiquity Consulting)

Whether it’s the result of long-term scholarly study, an inadvertent cultural resource management find, or an academic dabble, Northwest anthropologists, historians, architectural historians, and archaeologists are constantly contributing to our understanding of the recent past. In keeping with this year’s conference theme “Inclusive Partnerships” this session establishes an annual forum to present historical research into our region’s diverse and complex past.

Panel Discussion on Ethnographic Research with Pacific Northwest Tribes

Organizer: Don Shannon

This panel will highlight the importance of ethnographic research with Tribes in the Pacific Northwest, and to show how the Federal compliance process, specifically Section 106 of the NHPA, can generate ethnographic work.  Panelists will include Federal Agencies who fund ethnographic research, academicians who work with regional Tribes, and representatives from Tribal cultural resource programs.  We will discuss some of the differences between academically driven ethnography and compliance ethnography, both through consultants and research done by Tribes.  Compliance ethnographic work highlights the living culture of Tribes in the Pacific Northwest.  The importance of ethnographic research, which is the best means of acknowledging the importance of Traditional Cultural Properties, is increasingly noted in management documents generated by land-managing agencies, but remains poorly funded compared to archaeology.

Partnerships and Cultural Resources at the Hanford Site

Organizer: Mary Petrich-Guy and Keith Mendez (Mission Support Alliance)

The Hanford Site Cultural Resources Working Group brings area Tribes to the table in the context of the Department of Energy’s responsibility for one of the largest nuclear cleanup efforts in the world and the largest superfund cleanup site in the country. For over thirty years, the group has worked hard to balance the essential task of environmental cleanup and the goals of cultural resources management. Session participants will discuss the evolution of the longstanding partnership and various challenges and successes of the working group in a mixed panel and paper format.

Protecting Places that Matter: A Discussion Exploring Historic Properties of Religious and Cultural Significance to Indian Tribes (Panel Discussion)

Organizer: Angela Rooker (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) 

The purpose of this session is to explore the concept of Historic Properties of Religious and Cultural Significance to Indian Tribes (HPRCITs). HPRCSITs are a new addition to the types of properties identified as part of the legal mandate established by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. The format will be a two-hour panel discussion with questions posed to a diverse group of land managers, members of American Indian Nations, and government agency officials. Questions are designed to generate discussion on the nature of HPRCITs, different approaches to the potential presence of HPRCITs and to what extent one should be documented. Participants will also be encouraged to share their experiences devising methods to record and appropriate ways to manage HPRCITs.

Queer Perspectives in Cultural Resource Management: an Open Forum (Panel)

Organizer: Justin Colón (Cardno, Inc.)

Through this session, I seek to open a discussion that focuses on the experiences of queer-identifying professionals in archaeology, specifically (though not exclusively) in cultural resource management. It is not new information that the discipline/profession lacks a general diversity of voices and perspectives, notably those of the queer community. Such an absence of voices led to the formation of the SAA Board approved Queer Archaeology Interest Group (QAIG), who sought to amplify the discourse on a formal stage (Blackmore and Rutecki 2014).

The vision of this forum is to provide a safe and inclusive environment in which discussants and audience members can share their thoughts, experiences, impressions, and challenges that are unique to the queer community in CRM. One of the many goals is to establish a professional network and support system of queer researchers and professionals, in addition to the development of other support programming for archaeologists in the Northwest.

Blackmore, Chelsea, and Dawn M. Rutecki

2014       "Introducing the Queer Archaeology Interest Group." SAA Archaeological Record 14 (5): 40-41.

Review and Analysis of Textiles in Current Practice and in the Archaeological and Ethnographic Records of the Northwest

Organizer: Kim Simmons (Textiles Research Group)

Purpose of the session will be to pursue identification of tools, materials and methods of textile production through time. Potential research areas may include:


Irrelevance of gender assumptions in textile production.

Development of textile tool typologies.

Resources used with analysis of seasonality and availability.

Plant and animal processing methods with analysis of complexity and labor demands.

Functional categories of textiles.

Technologies for identification of textile materials and tools in archaeological deposits. 

Exploration of decorative aesthetics, methods and purposes.

Small 'c' Consultation Writ Large -- The State of Oregon and Nine Federally-Recognized Tribes Forge a Path Forward

Organizer: Dennis Griffin (Oregon State Historic Preservation Office)

The State of Oregon and the nine federally-recognized Tribes in the state have been moving forward over the past 30+ years to develop regular closer communication and consultation on a variety of topics. Agency and tribal staff have been seeking new and innovative ways to bridge earlier resistance between each group. This process has brought state and tribal representatives to the table talking about shared state initiatives, forums, and collaborative projects that are bringing the State and Tribes closer together and improving their relationship to each other, as well as creating a stronger understanding of tribal culture among state agency staff. This symposium showcases many of the collaborative efforts that have been created which we feel are unique to Oregon; although we see no reason why similar efforts could and should not occur elsewhere.

The State of Research on Public Lands

Organizer: Katherine Kelly (Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife)

This is a general session that provides an update on current research on state-managed lands. WDFW is in the beginning stages of developing a Cultural Resources Program, however there is a robust history of cultural resources research conducted on WDFW-managed lands by independent researchers, universities and colleges, tribes, and private contractors for a wide variety of reasons.  This first annual open session is intended to provide an open forum for these researchers to present their work to the wider community and spark meaningful conversations about past and present research conducted in this portion of the cultural landscape.

The Status of Radiocarbon Dating in the Pacific Northwest: Chronometric Hygiene, Site Chronologies, and Regional Patterns

Organizer: James Brown (Washington State University) and James Chatters (DirectAMS)

On the 70th anniversary of radiocarbon dating Pacific Northwest archaeologists continue to discover challenges of the dating technique. There have been further developed applications of radiocarbon methods along with the ever-increasing evaluation of regional radiocarbon databases. Major challenges of radiocarbon dating still present include: preservation, accuracy in dating cultural deposits, and marine and freshwater reservoir effects. Developing applications include increasing the materials that can be dated and the comparison of accuracy and precision of multiple dating techniques. Exploratory analyses of growing radiocarbon databases, often using Bayesian statistical analyses and the modelling of date distributions, are generating hypotheses about regional environmental change as well as regional and local subsistence and settlement. This symposium brings together individuals that are currently analyzing radiocarbon databases through new analytical techniques.

'Time Heals All Wounds': Contemporary Studies and Future Directions for the Anthropology of Healing

Organizer: Daphne Weber and Hannah MacIntyre (Washington State University)

Anthropologists have traditionally explored the benefits of cultural considerations in medical and psychological models of care, especially when introducing Western-based models to a population. We emphasize the studies considering a ‘hybrid’ of care on this panel. We encourage papers that offer a cultural assessment of hybridity in models of care with native and diasporic populations. Factors such as demographic groupings, spatiality, and religion may impact these studies but are not the only components to consider. Overall, this panel hopes to offer a comparative evaluation informing contemporary utility and future expansions.

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