Every Thursday is a lab day, and each day focuses on a range of topics in order to provide us with skills we can use in the lab and outside of the lab. This Thursday was all about lithics, and we learned everything from how to identify the material of the stone tool to how to estimate the time period given certain characteristics. By doing so, we are able to learn more about technology, lifestyle, location and trade relationships between ancestral Puebloans.
After a morning of analyzing chipped stone, we watched a flint knapping demostration by Tyson Hughes, a Crow Canyon educator who has been flint knapping for 13 years. We were able to watch the production of some of the lithics we had just analyzed, which took our analysis to the next level.
At lunch we attended a presentation by Justin Lund, the current Native American Scholar in Residence and a PhD canidate at the University of Oklahoma, about deconstructing the traditional in order to analyze what role it plays in the modern world. This presentation got us thinking about our own identities and how we construct/deconstruct them every day.
After lunch we analyzed more lithics, this time focusing on projectile points. We were then able to spend the rest of our lab day painting our pottery with homeade yucca brushes.
At around 5:30 we were off to dinner, and then we came right back to hear another one of Justin’s incredible presentations. This presentation was geared towards some of his current reserach, which includes bioethics, Indigenous genomics, molecular anthropology, Mitochondrial DNA, and Indigenous anthropology. His presentation was equally entertaining and educational, giving us a solid background on the commodification of Native identity and some of the issues it poses.