(as published in Arch Notes New Series 15(1))
Old habits are hard to break. Take for example this message. Having come to rely on the OAS president’s message, in the form of Jean-Luc’s often insightful, personal take on archaeology in Ontario and in the world, I certainly was happily awaiting his latest offering for the first Arch Notes of the second decade of the 21st century... until it dawned on me that, as of January, Jean-Luc had become the past president of the OAS, and I had rather cautiously agreed to serve as president. Meaning the missives were now part of my assignment!
So I offer this brief, hurried communiqué, in lieu of a more substantive introduction. That, no doubt, will arise in the newsletters ahead, for I am sympathetic to the approach Jean-Luc adopted and so I will strive, in however a lesser capacity, to carry on that tradition. In the interim, however, let me say that I have always been very impressed, both as a long standing OAS member and in my current role on the Board and past role on an OAS Chapter executive, with the commitment and effort the people on the Board, the Executive Director, publication editors, and Chapter executives all put in to making the OAS work for all members and users of this organisation’s output and activities. I am honoured and more than a little anxious to now be serving as president, and I hope I can help contribute to the ongoing success of the Society.
And there is plenty to keep us busy. We appear, as always and as a community, to be going through major changes in practice and indeed in even thinking about what it means to be doing archaeology in Ontario today. This coming year is set to continue that trend, with perhaps the formal adoption of changed standards of practice for commercial archaeology (which so dominates practice), as well as the greater integration of First Nations and Aboriginal communities into the basic activity and day to day decision-making of that practice. The implications of these changes, of course, are not the exclusive domain of commercial practice, but will affect us all. And critically these changes require all of us, both archaeologists (academic, avocational, consultant, student), as well as others in Ontario society today that value, interact with or learn from the province’s archaeological heritage, to work together and recognise our commonalities, as well as accommodate our distinct differences. I strongly feel, as I know many of you do, too, that the OAS will be absolutely essential as the integrative force in the province to help recognise need, lead discussion, mediate difference and identify action, as we all negotiate the changed and changing world of Ontario archaeology.
But with one eye on that big picture, a lot of the day to day of the Board and Executive Director consists of also striving to streamline and enhance member services, as we grapple with meshing 20th century databases, office technologies and conventions, with members reasonable expectations of 21st century access to those services! Jean-Luc, along with Luke Dalla Bona and others, have been instrumental in helping the OAS move here, but clearly we have more work to do on our administrative “back end,” and will continue to pre-occupy time at our Board meetings.
So lots to do! And no doubt I envision one of my jobs will be to knock on doors to ask some of you to help out the OAS with one initiative or another. I do hope you will jump at the opportunity, or better yet come forward with particular initiatives you would like to tackle on behalf of your fellow members! This I hope, since I’ve yet to take the course offered to OAS presidents - Arm-Twisting 101.
Until next time,