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OU assistant professor collaborates with Native American elders in new Pueblo archaeology book

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Robert Preucel, left, and Samuel Duwe with their book “The Continuous Path: Pueblo Movement and the Archaeology of Becoming (Amerind Studies in Archaeology).” Duwe is an assistant anthropology professor at OU.

An OU assistant professor published an archaeology book in conjunction with indigenous elders to help individuals better understand the past of the Pueblo people, earlier this year. 

Samuel Duwe is an assistant anthropology professor at OU who received his doctorate at the University of Arizona in 2011. Since 2000, Duwe has been devoted to collaborating with and studying the history of the Pueblo people of the American Southwest, particularly the Tewa Pueblos of northern New Mexico, according to the College of Arts and Sciences website

Duwe and co-author Robert W. Preucel published “The Continuous Path: Pueblo Movement and the Archaeology of Becoming (Amerind Studies in Archaeology)” in April.

The book aims to illustrate the Pueblo peoples’ ownership of their past by connecting it to the present through the archaeological study of their artifacts and culture.

The project relied heavily on the collaborative input of Pueblo elders and people united by a conference at the Amerind Museum in Arizona, Duwe said.

“Native people and anthropologists have been in close conversation for a long time, but it was more of a one-sided relationship,” Duwe said. “So my colleague and I thought, 'Why don’t we write something that is co-authored by native people and archaeologists together?'”

Through this book, Duwe sheds light on the importance of continuity, or the connection of the Pueblo past and present. This connection, Duwe said, can most clearly be seen through the places they’ve lived.

“Native Americans’ connection to place is so important, as the landscape encompasses their history,” Duwe said. “It’s not just folk traditions — this is people's lives, and it's deadly serious.”

The history of the Pueblo people is rich and abundant. This, ultimately, is why Duwe’s book strives to promote the inclusion of Native Americans in all future conversations concerning studies of their culture. 

“In the past, it was not required for archaeologists to consult with Native people (before they studied their artifacts and culture),” Duwe said. 

Duwe said sometimes even anthropologists who study the human race can too easily be kept from recognizing humanity. 

“What it comes down to is the thing I think makes being an anthropologist have meaning, which is being an advocate for the people they work with,” Duwe said. “I think in that way, archaeologists and anthropologists can do good in the world.”

“The Continuous Path: Pueblo Movement and the Archaeology of Becoming (Amerind Studies in Archaeology)” is available on Amazon. The e-book can also be purchased on Google Play Books and Barnes & Noble.

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