SANKOFA/Return and get it: an archaeological exploration of black loyalist identity and culture in Nova Scotia

MacLeod-Leslie, Heather A. (2012) SANKOFA/Return and get it: an archaeological exploration of black loyalist identity and culture in Nova Scotia. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Scholarly archaeological research into the African diaspora in Atlantic Canada is quite limited to date. The discourse in history has been more regularly attended here but, given the sociopolitical challenges that members of the African diaspora faced, archaeology is a vital and perhaps more democratic source of information to understand this heritage and its importance to modern Atlantic Canadians. This thesis represents an effort to begin to fill this need. -- Localized cultural variation is a factor for which scholars must allow, however the discourse on African diaspora archaeology has demonstrated that some common, Africentric cultural phenomena link populations across the wide geography of the colonial African diaspora through both their African cultural heritage and experiences as members of this diaspora. This thesis, using a specific focus on Black Loyalists and their descendents in Nova Scotia, contends that early black settlers in Atlantic Canada embodied varying degrees and facets of West African cultural traditions. These have contributed to modern black culture and ethnocultural identity in Atlantic Canada and must be seen in both their contemporary and historic contexts as African diasporic in nature. -- This research uses several approaches to understand the emic perspective of African Nova Scotian identity and local cultural heritage. These include a comparative study of consumption behavior through an analysis of ceramic decorative colours and motifs, an attempt to comprehend cultural landscapes at regional, community and household levels and a consideration of ethnocultural identity through materially expressed Africentric spirituality and folk traditions. Further, this thesis demonstrates that, since the material traces of such Africentric practices and perspectives lack any substantial documentary record to assist in their comprehension, the adoption of an Africentric perspective to archaeological field methodology and interpretation is necessary for both detecting the evidence and understanding it. -- Data from several Black Loyalist communities were analyzed to address the varied objectives including Delap's Cove (Annapolis Co.), Rear Monastery (Antigonish & Guysborough Cos.), Birchtown (Shelburne Co.) and a white Irish community, Coote Cove (Halifax Regional Municipality). Data from previous research was used from the latter two communities, whereas the author collected data specifically for this research from the two former communities.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 6146
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 291-335).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Archaeology
Date: 2012
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Nova Scotia
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Blacks--Nova Scotia--Social life and customs;Blacks--Race identity--Nova Scotia; Afrocentrism--Nova Scotia; African American loyalists--Nova Scotia;

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