Inscribed Indigenous Wisdom: Interpreting Rock Art through Indigenous Women’s Perspectives and Voices

In this talk, Emily will explore how rock art research can move beyond Western methods of identifying, describing, photographing, and interpreting rock art images and how to better implement methods and frameworks to explore Indigenous-centered interpretations. Rock art research has long ignored Indigenous women’s unique knowledge, experiences, and perspectives when interpreting cultural heritage. Specifically, Emily argues that by incorporating Indigenous women’s scholarship, archaeologists can center Indigenous women’s voices and experiences to understand the meaning of imagery. Rock art, which can be more than just art but knowledge, communication, and ancestors, is a permanent form of material culture and must be grounded in the landscape in which it exists. Women’s cultural and ecological knowledge about landscape features and plants can further aid in contextualizing and interpreting imagery.