My research investigates contemporary Muskogee (Creek) histories and ways of living with history, particularly relationships to and interpretations of ancestral material culture and landscapes. This collaborative project with a tribal town in North Florida combines archaeological and ethnographic methodologies and focuses on the Mississippian period in Florida and Georgia (circa 1050-1600, depending on the area). The ethnographic component of this project includes the study of oral histories and contemporary sacred cycles, although I am particularly interested in community interpretations of Mississippian period mortuary art. Contrasting with the prestige and mythological models privileged in the archaeological literature (in which mortuary goods are interpreted in terms of hierarchical social organization or representation of mythology and the "supernatural"), my Muskogee hosts tend to see these very same images as expressions of mourning and cosmological, creative process (sex, pollination, birth, and growth) - that is, the motion of life itself. What philosophies of death, nature, materiality, and being might emerge between ancestral ways, contemporary ways, and community reflection? How might these illuminate the hidden cultural, ontological, and metaphysical frames dominant in current research and ground alternative ways of going about archaeology?
Collaborative and Indigenous archaeologies, ethnographic archaeology and archaeological ethnography postcolonialism, gender and sexuality, human and non-human relationships, death and dying, Southeastern Native American peoples, Mississippian archaeology