Public archaeology with a Doukhobor descendant community
Fleeing religious persecution in Russia, large groups of Doukhobors arrived in Canada in 1899, and settled in Saskatchewan. Today archaeology can serve a pivotal role in the Doukhobor community's efforts to reclaim and celebrate its past. A partnership between the Doukhobor community and the Saskatchewan archaeological community, created "The Doukhobor Pit-House Public Archaeology Project." The project featured the participation of Doukhobor descendants in the excavation of two Doukhobor sites. This provided an opportunity not only to provide a beneficial experience for the community but also to study how a public archaeology project is formed and operates to a successful finish. Using qualitative data including questionnaires, daily journals and interviews, this project evaluated the impact the archaeological experience had upon the changing Doukhobor community, by discerning the project's successes, failures and benefits. The results of the evaluation provides practical information for future public archaeology projects and wider implications for the discipline's relationship with the public. The analysis also provides a deeper understanding of how archaeology can provide Canadian communities with a voice in the creation and maintenance of their past for the betterment of future generations and the wider provincial and national community.