Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Master of Arts




Hodgetts, Lisa


This thesis explores Indigenization in the context of archaeology and Western education at the Tundra Science and Culture Camp (TSCC), a government-run summer camp in the Northwest Territories, Canada. By collaborating with Indigenous knowledge holders, it begins the process of re-designing the Human History session—a program within the TSCC that focuses on archaeology and the cultural sites around the camp—to incorporate more Indigenous pedagogies and knowledge. Drawing on semi-structured interviews and participant observation, this thesis outlines an attempt to Indigenize the Human History session at the 2022 TSCC, its successes and challenges, and diverse conceptions of what it would mean to Indigenize the camp. This thesis concludes that the camp’s current Western structure and hidden curriculum greatly limit the extent to which programming within it can be effectively Indigenized. It recommends that camp organizers including the Indigenous instructors step back and articulate the aims of Indigenizing the camp in order to chart future directions for achieving those aims.

Summary for Lay Audience

This thesis attempts to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into an archaeology curriculum delivered at the Tundra Science and Culture Camp (TSCC), a summer camp for high school students in the Northwest Territories, Canada. The TSCC has been undergoing an Indigenization process for many years. The inspiration for this research comes from previous efforts that have incorporated Indigenous elements into archaeology education through field schools. Integrating Indigenous knowledge and perspectives into non-Indigenous settings is becoming increasingly common. In North America, Indigenous activists have advocated for greater acknowledgement and consideration of the value of Indigenous knowledge in research and education. Incorporating Indigenous knowledge into non-Indigenous settings can increase diversity and holistic understandings (Archibald, 2008).

The following study collaborates with Indigenous knowledge holders from the Tłı̨chǫ First Nation to determine how to best weave Indigenous pedagogies into an existing archaeology curriculum titled Human History. Using semi-structured interviews and participant observation, I discuss the successes and challenges of beginning this process of Indigenization with participants at the TSCC in 2022. I interviewed nine (current and former) staff members and nine campers before and after the TSCC to get their insights on the changes made to the Human History session and their feelings towards Indigenization at the TSCC as a whole.

This thesis finds that there are barriers to attempting to Indigenize something within an existing Western structure. In the same way that bringing in different pieces of furniture will not renovate a house, incorporating Indigenous knowledge and pedagogies into a Western framework will not change that framework. There were limitations to the Indigenous pedagogies which could be incorporated into the Human History session. Factors such as time constraints, scheduling issues, and the hidden curriculum (the unwritten and often unintentional lessons and values taught in learning environments) made it difficult to effectively bring these elements into the session. Future attempts to Indigenize elements within the TSCC should be aware of this and consider altering the framework of the TSCC to represent both Indigenous and Western knowledge and approaches to teaching and learning more equally. They should begin by agreeing on the overarching aims of Indigenizing the camp.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License