Latonia Hartery
Latonia at Karrat Fjord NW Greenland Scanning the Horizon Author: Daniel Catt
2021

Latonia Hartery

Archaeologist

Northern Odyssey

meet latonia

An archaeologist and filmmaker, Dr. Hartley is the director of the Bird Cove Archaeology Project in Northern Newfoundland. Latonia has worked with colleagues to reconstruct 5000 years of Indigenous history in the region. Latonia is also the founder of a charity which researches, preserves, and promotes archaeology, cultural heritage and art in Newfoundland, Labrador and the Arctic, and informs the public about these topics through educational programs. Latonia’s production company, LJH Films, specializes in films which promote adventure and stories of women and Indigenous people.

Northern Odyssey
Nominated by: Scott C. Forsyth FI'16
Class of 2021 Location Newfoundland, Canada
Latonia driving a zodiac in the Arctic
Latonia driving a zodiac in the Arctic

The Bird Cove Archaeology Project (BCAP) is a unique academic and community partnership, which includes elders as researchers, preserves fascinating northern Newfoundland rural traditions, and is a source of economic stabilization for the region through its associated tourism. It combines academics, exploration, and art with social change. In response to Newfoundland’s cod-fishery collapse, over the last 15 years we have hired and trained 300 displaced rural workers as guides, researchers, and excavators to offset regional economic devastation.

I was the first person to use pioneering phytolith experiments to identify plant use among ancient Arctic Indigenous hunter-gatherers. These were important because it was counter to how people have viewed them.

“I hope for more Indigenous people, and everyone, to engage in exploration, to have greater agency in the story of their lives, and to participate in creating a future they are proud of.”

- Latonia Hartery
BCAP Photographer Dennis Minty, Elder and Researcher Elva Spence, and Latonia Hartery
BCAP Photographer Dennis Minty, Elder and Researcher Elva Spence, and Latonia Hartery

To create change, I seek a blend of traditional and non-traditional forms of scholarship with traditional ways of knowing. This approach has inspired me to advocate for Indigenous sovereignty in storytelling. Through a collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada, four films are directed by Inuit about themselves and a Mi’kmaq version will follow. I hope for more Indigenous people, and everyone, to engage in exploration, to have greater agency in the story of their lives, and to participate in creating a future they are proud of.

Anita Best's Storytelling and Singing Session
Anita Best's Storytelling and Singing Session

I was inspired to pursue my chosen career by my family heritage. On the 1921 census of the remote south coast of Newfoundland where I am from, my great-grandmother’s parents and brothers were listed as Mi’kmaq people, and she was not. Our government often did this to young women to prevent their future babies from inheriting this identity. I have chosen to rise up and reclaim my identity, in my own way, and completed a Ph.D. in the Indigenous archaeology of Newfoundland, Labrador and the Arctic

never stop exploring

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