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  • People, Animals, Protected Places, and Archaeology: A Complex Collaboration in Belize

    Meaghan M. Peuramaki-Brown, Shawn G. Morton

    Chapter from the book: Andersson, R et al. 2021. Bridging Cultural Concepts of Nature: Indigenous People and Protected Spaces of Nature.

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    The authors of this chapter direct the Stann Creek Regional Archaeology Project (SCRAP), featuring a multi-year, multi-site, multidisciplinary program of archaeological research along the south-eastern margins of the Maya Mountains, Stann Creek District, Belize. While we and our team members most frequently direct our academic efforts in an attempt to reconstruct and understand the complicated suite of developmental processes, experiences, and life histories of the inhabitants of this region more than 1000 years ago, this ancient past represents only one of the two dominant spatio-temporal and socio-political contexts with which we engage on a regular basis. In this chapter, we shift our focus to the interactions with present-day individuals, communities, and institutions that structure our archaeological work. For some perspective, we will discuss the history of the development of the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and connected forest reserves—totaling some 1011 km2 of nominally ‘protected’ space—and ongoing co-management organization and use relationships with adjacent Indigenous Maya communities. We frame this development within the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and supplement historical records with informally gathered impressions from local rights-holders and stakeholders, as well as through our own experiences and observations. We conclude by returning to the subject of our own operations within the region to highlight how SCRAP has attempted to learn from this history—particularly with respect to co-management and community engagement—and to propose areas for improvement.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Peuramaki-Brown M. & Morton S. 2021. People, Animals, Protected Places, and Archaeology: A Complex Collaboration in Belize. In: Andersson, R et al (eds.), Bridging Cultural Concepts of Nature. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.33134/AHEAD-1-4

    This chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives 4.0 license. Copyright is retained by the author(s)

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    Published on Dec. 16, 2021


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