This section provides a summary of when you must and when you are encouraged to engage Aboriginal communities in the course of your archaeological work, based on the direction in the Standards and Guidelines for Consultant Archaeologists. It summarizes the sections of the standards and guidelines that relate to Aboriginal community engagement.

1.1 Standards

If your archaeological project is in Ontario, you must engage Aboriginal communities at the following stages:

  1. in Stage 3, when you are assessing the cultural heritage value or interest of an Aboriginal archaeological site that is known to have or appears to have sacred or spiritual importance, or is associated with traditional land uses or geographic features of cultural heritage interest, or is the subject of Aboriginal oral histories. (Standards and Guidelines for Consultant Archaeologists, Section 3.4)
  2. at the end of Stage 3, when formulating a strategy to mitigate the impacts on the following types of Aboriginal archaeological sites through avoidance and protection or excavation (Sections 3.4 and 3.5):
    1. rare Aboriginal archaeological sites;
    2. sites identified as sacred or known to contain human remains;
    3. woodland Aboriginal sites;
    4. Aboriginal archaeological sites where topsoil stripping is contemplated;
    5. undisturbed Aboriginal sites;
    6. sites previously identified as of interest to an Aboriginal community.

When you have engaged Aboriginal communities as part of an archaeological project, you must provide a description of the engagement and a copy of any documentation arising from the process to the Ministry. Submit this information as part of the supplementary documentation included in the Project Report Package. (Section 7.6.2)

In the event that something unexpected is discovered during a Stage 4 that would change the interpretation of the archaeological site, the relevant Aboriginal communities should be contacted.

1.2 Guidelines

Engaging Aboriginal communities at the following additional stages constitutes wise practice, which you are encouraged to follow. You should engage Aboriginal communities:

In Stage 1, when conducting the Background Study, in order to identify information sources in local Aboriginal communities (for example, for information on traditional use areas, sacred sites, and other sites) when available and relevant to the property). (Standards and Guidelines for Consultant Archaeologists Section 1.1)

  1. In Stage 1, when evaluating archaeological potential and making recommendations to exempt areas meeting the criteria for low archaeological potential from further assessment, in order to ensure there are no unaddressed Aboriginal cultural heritage interests. (Section 1.4)
  2. In Stage 2, when assessing a property and determining archaeological sites that require Stage 3 fieldwork, in order to determine interest (general and site-specific) in the Aboriginal archaeological sites and ensure that there are no unaddressed Aboriginal archaeological interests connected with the land surveyed or sites identified. (Section 2.2)
  3. In Stage 3, when making recommendations regarding the excavation or preservation of Aboriginal archaeological sites of cultural heritage value or interest (other than those identified in the standards), in order to review the recommendations with the relevant, interested Aboriginal communities. (Section 3.5)

If human remains are uncovered at any stage in the fieldwork process you must cease fieldwork and report the discovery to the police or coroner. This is a mandatory requirement of the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002, S.O. 2002, c.33.