Tsim Schneider, Assistant Professor

June 17, 2021

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How did you first get interested in archaeology?

As a kid, my parents took me to some wonderful parks where I became interested in Native American history. My brother and sister inspired me to learn more about our family’s history. My fourth-grade teacher was also a former archeologist and he got me interested in local Indigenous history. So, by the time I started college, I knew I wanted to be an archaeologist. By the time I graduated from college, I was motived to study the history and archaeology of California Native Americans.

 

How have your interests in archaeology developed over the years?

Over the years, I would say that I’ve become more interested in archaeological practice that is sensitive to the interests of Native American research partners. I strive to conduct collaborative research (Indigenous archaeology) that is relevant to the histories and needs of communities who have often been excluded from archaeology in North America. I’m also fortunate to have some great graduate students who inspire me to learn more--and teach UCSC undergrads—about collaborative archaeological research.

 

Why might you encourage somebody to do archaeology?

Archaeology combines the joys of problem-oriented field and laboratory research and, for me, humanistic (social) questions about the lives and identities of Indigenous peoples who are not usually discussed in western histories. Working closely with tribal communities to help answer questions about the past, being able to conduct research and collect information that might help rewrite popular histories of Native American tragedy and cultural loss, and empowering communities in the present day is enormously rewarding.