About Maria Nieves Zedeño
I am a North American archaeologist, who, upon joining the Native American Cultural Resource Revitalization Program at BARA in 1994, saw an opportunity to apply my archaeological skills to topics of contemporary relevance to Native Americans. For 15 years now, my research agenda has focused mainly on integrating archaeology, ethnohistory, and ethnography into projects designed to fulfill the ethical and legal requirements of cultural preservation and to explicitly address contemporary cultural and social concerns of tribal communities. The intellectual framework that organizes my research, teaching, and outreach activities emphasizes behavioral and social theory. This integrative venture is slowly becoming a personal contribution to the profession, to the education of students, and to the Native American communities with which I work.
Although my early professional activities were motivated by an interest in the study of ceramic technology, population movement, regional interaction, and ethnic coresidence in the American Southwest, in recent years I have been devoted mainly to the understanding of traditional land use history vis-à-vis past and present community identity and social cohesion. Throughout this period I have honed a cultural landscape framework to best capture the breadth and complexity of native concepts of the world as they inform land use practices. Because this is a well-received framework among American Indians and anthropologists today, I have been successful at securing research funding from federal and private sources and at completing collaborative projects with numerous tribes representing Pueblo, Numic, Algonquian, and Siouan languages and ethnic groups, in the U.S., as well as Canada.
I now consider my professional practice to be Indigenous Archaeology, that is, archaeology that explicitly combines non-western worldviews and conventional archaeological frameworks both theoretically and practically. This is the approach I want to pass on to my students (and, so far, I am succeeding). In addition, Native American ways of thinking inspire me to expand and refine conceptual and methodological approaches to hunter-gatherer organization, territory and territoriality, and relational taxonomy, which my colleagues may find useful for their own research.
1991 Southern Methodist University, (SMU), Ph.D. in Anthropology
1988-1991 University of Arizona (UA), Visiting Scholar
1987 Southern Methodist University (SMU), M.A. in Anthropology
1985 Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL), B.A. in Archaeology