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UBC Theses and Dissertations

"Spirit Camp" : indigenous website preferences Lafleur, Mary-Lou Terry


The Internet has become an important medium for disseminating information about archaeology to the public. Research by archaeologists on how they can use the Internet is in its infancy. This thesis examines an Indigenous group's perspectives on the delivery of archaeological content through websites. The Spirit Camp archaeological site is located in Stó:lo Territory in the Fraser Valley, British Columbia. The Spirit Camp website project was created to explore the Stó:lo people's preference regarding graphic design and interactivity in two otherwise identical websites. Understanding Indigenous perspectives is essential for collaborative projects and is beneficial to both archaeology and Indigenous communities if done with respect and trust, as this can lead to a better understanding of history. This thesis discusses and analyzes feedback obtained from the Stó:lo about the two Spirit Camp websites and the dissemination of knowledge about their ancestors via the Internet. The more graphical website guides the viewer with a storybook-like interface while the other website allows readers to view material in plain text with a standard menu and scrollbar. Feedback from 24 participants was collected through an individual survey questionnaire, and three age-based focus groups: youths, adults, and Elders. This research shows that enhanced graphic design and increased levels of interactivity in websites do influence website preference. Elders telling stories, colour, photos, games, music and moving objects are examples cited by Stó:lo members as additions to future websites which enhance their experience. All the male participants preferred the more graphic website, while women's preferences were 53% in favour of the more graphical website. Data from the focus groups demonstrates that viewers' opinions vary by gender and age. This research informs us how to effectively work with and respect Indigenous peoples. It does so by suggesting the use of culturally sensitive methods, such as interviews and focus groups, to acquire Indigenous perspectives on the presentation and dissemination of archaeological information.

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