Aboriginal Youth Engagement Program

Cultural awareness through archaeology

The Aboriginal Youth Engagement Program focuses on incorporating knowledge students have learned throughout their high school careers into applications commonly used in the discipline of archaeology. Because archaeology is an interdisciplinary field of study, it is a unique medium in which to apply the core pillars of the Alberta Curriculum, such as mathematics, science, language skills, and social sciences.

The program is based through a classroom day, during which staff work with students on a number archaeologically-themed in-class activities and scenarios, to prepare high school students for excavations as well as engaging them with the past and increasing their cultural awareness. These activities are designed to provide insight as to how an archaeologist interprets the past and will provide students with the basic skills needed to participate in a real archaeological excavation.

The second part of the program is based on interactions and experiences on the land during which time high school students have the opportunity to participate for two days at an archaeological dig at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park.  Students will be paired with University of Calgary field school students and will be provided the opportunity to ask questions, explore personal interests, as well as potential careers paths within the discipline of archaeology. It is important to note that this program is flexible and activities seen in each section can be changed, added to, or adapted to the specific needs of a class.

Classroom Activities

Youth will take part in a number of activities that compliment Alberta’s Educational Curriculum. Including:

  • Alberta Prehistory
  • Biology and Faunal Analysis
  • Geology and Lithic Analysis
  • Ceramic Analysis
  • Geography
  • Excavation Techniques and Data Recording

Out in the field

Students will then apply the skills learned in the classroom at a real archaeological excavation. The day in the field will consist of:

  • Tour of the Archaeological Site
  • Excavation and Recovery of Artifacts
  • Recording and Mapping Artifacts
  • On-site discussions of Alberta prehistory
  • Atl-atl throwing