Background

There are three key stakeholder groups which have an interest in archaeological research:

  • officials,
  • archaeological professionals and
  • descendants and other culturally affiliated people.
Officials

Provincial/territorial officials would be notified as a matter of course, in the case of normal archaeological survey work.

(List of provincial officials in sidebar.)

Ideally, a summary of the same report is also sent to the Director of Archaeological Services Branch of the Parks Canada Agency (address in sidebar), although not a legal requirement.

Archaeological Professionals

Although these experts and the "officials" are often the same people, there are some instances where licensing authorities may, in their discretion, call on researchers to notify the department of anthropology of the nearest university, as part of the terms authorizing the permit.

The task of notifying the various designated parties is usually assigned to the archaeologist undertaking the research.

Descendants, etc.

Unfortunately, there have been many instances of excavations of the property and the remains of the ancestors of nearby populations — to the dismay of the latter. In some cases, there have even been excavations of people still fondly remembered. That practice is not acceptable.42

The archaeological community has long argued43 that there should be "consultation with affected native groups regarding the approval process for excavations." The Parks Canada Agency similarly maintains the importance of "culturally affiliated people." The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has taken (1996) a comparable position, and (following the lead of the Parks Canada Agency) not only in relation to Aboriginal peoples. According to its publication, The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act Reference Guide on Physical and Cultural Heritage Resources:

[T]he concerns of...all those affected by the project should be considered, including concerns of Aboriginal, ethnic or cultural groups whose heritage is involved. All are an important source of local or traditional knowledge. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act reinforces the benefits of consulting with the public and other stakeholders at the onset of a project.44

There are sites where archaeological evidence is known to be present but is not visible on the surface or not well recorded or protected.45

A good professional may even have views on how to make an archaeological survey a positive public experience, by eliciting input from neighbouring communities. Although that subject can be both difficult and delicate, it is considered important to quality work.