Thursday, February 4, 2016

Anthropology in the Community

Hi everyone, my name is Anne and I’m an undergraduate student at Western Michigan University, majoring in Anthropology. I am currently enrolled in Dr. Nassaney’s class, Anthropology in the Community and completing independent study under his supervision. I plan to attend the Fort St. Joseph Archaeological field school in the summer, but until then this class will be the next best thing!

In this class, we are partnering with the Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project and will be providing it with informational panels regarding rivers and waterways for its open house this upcoming summer. The St. Joseph River, as I’m sure you all know, HUGELY impacts the excavation of Fort St. Joseph and it will be the focus of our research. We will be exploring various aspects of this waterway, and deciding upon specific themes for our panels. Some different ideas that we have tossed around so far have included river resources, transportation along the river, recreation, industry, and daily life (among others). For some of these theme ideas, we have discussed focusing on the past and present ways in which the river was/is playing a role. One thing that I think will be very interesting to learn is how river resources were manipulated around the time of the fort’s occupation compared to how they are now, as well as how access to certain resources has changed over time!

In applying anthropological methods to our research, we are hoping to better understand how anthropology can be useful in communities. In collaborating with community members of Niles, we will gain important knowledge of the area that one cannot just access on the Internet, as well as tighten the bonds that the fort already maintains with the community! We will all benefit greatly from this experience in various ways and gain a deeper understanding of the local history. We will keep you all posted as we progress with this project and can’t wait to learn more about the St. Joseph River!

-Anne Volpe

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