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Anthropology Tushingham Lab

Indigenous Collaboration, First Foods, and Cultural Resource Management at Indian Creek:

2023 WSU Archaeological Field School

May 22-June 16, 2023

Priority Application Deadline: March 1st, 2023 

Located in the homelands of the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, Pend Oreille County, Washington State, and made possible through a unique partnership between the Kalispel Tribe of Indians,  the Washington State University Department of Anthropology, and Far Western Anthropological Research Group.


This summer, you have the opportunity to:

  • Participate in research documenting Kalispel indigenous food systems at the Indian Creek site through the excavation of numerous earth ovens at an ancestral site occupied for at least 5000 years.
  • Earn career-building experience from a team of experts, including Professors, Professionals, and Instructors from academic, tribal, and cultural resource management (CRM) archaeology.
  • Develop skills in ethical collaboration with Indigenous communities in research and practice.
  • Learn the fundamentals of excavation, survey, and site recording, as well as artifact analysis, lab methods, and public education skills.
  • Explore the history and culture of interior Salish-speaking peoples and the Kalispel Tribe.
  • Gain insights into contemporary Tribes and programs addressing language revitalization, food sovereignty, health, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and restoration of local natural and cultural resources.
  • Become versed in CRM techniques essential to careers in professional archaeology and academic and tribal research.
  • Take field trips to sites and culturally and geographically significant areas, make new friends, and make memories to last a lifetime!

About the WSU Archaeological Field School

The 2023 Washington State University (WSU) archaeological field school is a collaborative project developed with the Kalispel Tribe of Indians. The field school will take place in scenic Pend Oreille County, northeastern Washington state, near the town of Newport, Washington. This summer, we are honored to be hosted by the Kalispel Tribe on their property at the Indian Creek Community Forest.  As detailed in a recent feature by Sustainable Northwest, the Forest is a very special place that is a center of education and recreation, as well as a center point for the Tribe’s environmental management and ecological restoration efforts.

The 2023 field school is designed to prepare students for the evolving professional, academic, and compliance landscapes of archaeology. It provides a unique opportunity for students to participate in a research project investigating indigenous food systems while learning first-hand skills from a team of leaders in academic, Tribal, and cultural resource management (CRM) archaeology.

With a curriculum developed and taught in partnership with the Kalispel Tribe of Indians and Far Western Anthropological Research Group, the knowledge and skills students will gain will help them prepare for a variety of futures, including graduate school, work with Tribes and collaborative programs, and careers in the ever-expanding field of CRM (e.g., see Altschul and Klein 2022, “Forecast for the US CRM Industry and Job Market, 2022-2031“).

In addition to teaching students fundamental field and lab skills essential to diverse careers in archaeology, the field school will be a lot of fun! We will work hard in the field and lab, but also visit cultural sites, engage in lively discussions, participate in public outreach programs, and learn from Tribal experts about the Kalispel Tribe and their history.


Collaborative Research at Indian Creek

The field school is located in rural Pend Oreille County-part of the homelands of the Salish-speaking Kalispel. This is an environmentally, culturally, and historically rich region, with much to explore and learn. In addition to learning about Tribal history and culture, students will help to document Kalispel land use and foodways at the Indian Creek site through the excavation of numerous earth oven features. Initial radiocarbon dating of cores at these features suggests the site was used over a span of 5000 years.

Artifacts collected in the field will be analyzed in the project lab near our campsite, and a major focus will be on recovering clues about culinary traditions and diet through ethnobotany, flotation, and other analyses, which will help students to better understand cultural sequences, analyze material culture in detail, and learn about artifact curation and preservation. Field trips along with visits from experts in the field of archaeology and other guests will help to enhance student appreciation and understanding of the region’s expansive natural and cultural history.

The Indian Creek project provides an exciting and rare opportunity to conduct cutting-edge scientific research and apply modern analytical techniques in a collaborative research context. Our emphasis is to develop a collaborative research model, that incorporates Tribal values and needs, while also training students (to work for and with Tribes, to better understand the context of their work). 

The field school is bound by three prevailing themes: 1) emphasizing “decolonized” approaches to archaeological method and theory that promote ethical collaboration with descendant communities; 2) exploring questions about historical ecology, “first foods”, diet, health, food sovereignty, and family decision making and cooperation through an archaeological understanding of earth oven technologies and traditions, landscape use and Traditional Ecological Knowledge; and 3) training students in CRM policies and practice, which is not only necessary for a career in archaeology in countries like the US, but is directly applicable to other heritage and resource management professions, both nationally and internationally.



If you are interested in joining the field school, please fill out an application (available here as a fillable PDF) and submit it to Cassady Fairlane at The priority deadline is March 1st, 2023, but applications will continue to be accepted until the field school is filled.


Cost and Registration

Field school students are required to enroll in 6 credits of Archaeological Field School through the Pullman campus: ANTH 399 (undergraduates) or ANTH 599 (graduates) for the Summer 2022 semester. The 2023 summer session tuition and fee can be found here. Course costs include tuition (undergraduate tuition is $563.35 per credit or $3380.10/ 6 credits; graduate tuition is $646.25 per credit or $3877.50). In addition, there is a $543 fee that will defray camping and food expenses.

To be considered for the field school, you must complete and submit the application form (see link and instructions above). We will send you registration and deposit information upon acceptance into the field school. Please remember that the priority deadline for submitting applications is March 1, 2023. Applications submitted after March 1st will be considered only if space is available. You will be asked to provide a $500 deposit (due April 15) to secure your spot in the field school.


Instructors and Project Team

Students sign up for the field school under Professor Shannon Tushingham, but they will also learn from a team of professionals with diverse experience in academic, Tribal, and CRM archaeology!

Shannon Tushingham, PhD, RPA, (Project Principal Investigator/ Instructor), WSU Associate Professor, Director of the WSU Museum of Anthropology

Kevin Lyons, MA, RPA, (Tribal Liason/ Instructor), Cultural Resources Management Program Manager, Kalispel Tribe of Indians

Naomi Scher, MA, RPA, (Project Director, Geoarchaeology Lead), Geoarchaeologist, Far Western Anthropological Group

Molly Carney, PhD, (Ethnobotany Director), Assistant Professor, University of Arkansas, WSU Adjunct Faculty

Cassady Fairlane, BA, (Lab Director/ Instructor), Curator and Collections Manager, WSU Museum of Anthropology

Mario Zimmermann, PhD, (Field Director/ Instructor), Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Puget Sound, WSU Adjunct Faculty

William Hildebrandt, PhD, RPA, (CRM Advisor/Instructor), Founding Member, Far Western Anthropological Research Group


Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to bring?

You are responsible for bringing your own personal field gear, camping gear, and supplies (a detailed list will be sent in the spring), spending money, special foods, and any medication that you need.

What are the living and meal accommodations like?

The Kalispel Tribe is hosting us at their Indian Creek Community Forest-a unique and beautiful place that will also be our laboratory and classroom headquarters. Participants will be camping for the duration of the field school. We will ensure access to basic amenities (e.g., portlets and/or access to bathrooms, solar shower stalls, a kitchen facility, an electronics charging station, etc.). Meals will be prepared and shared by the group.

Additionally, the Tribe has arranged for us to have access to their AMAZING camas center during the field school  The fee will be covered by the field school (no change in cost or registration costs). Every evening students will be able to shower there (they even supply towels), and if you have energy, (and there aren’t other evening activities or labs planned) you can go for a swim, use their climbing wall, take a sauna/ steambath, play pickleball, etc!   

In addition to cooking responsibilities, tasks related to the basic maintenance of the field camp will be shared by students and staff. We will accommodate dietary allergies and try to accommodate other dietary needs to the best of our ability, but due to field school conditions, it may be difficult to meet the specialized needs of some diets.

Field school participants will have the opportunity to run personal errands in Newport (e.g., stock up on supplies, use a laundromat, access a bank ATM)-typically on Sundays.

What is the weather like?

Daytime temperatures in late May to early June average in the mid-70s to high 80s, with nighttime lows in the low 40s to mid-50s. While relatively uncommon, it is possible for temperatures to reach as high as the low 100s on some days. Summers are relatively dry, but rain may occur. Prepare for warm, dry days and cool nights, with the potential for scattered showers. In other words: come prepared, and be ready to layer!

How will I get there?

With prior notice, project vehicles can transport field school participants from the WSU Pullman campus to the field school and back again. Students should plan to arrive at the camp and set up the day before field school begins (May 21) at the latest. If you are not local, please discuss with staff before making any flight arrangements, but the closest airports are the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport (PUW) and Spokane International Airport (GEG). It is possible for students to bring their own cars if space allows.

What is the work schedule like?

This is an intensive field and laboratory course. Students should expect to work hard and learn a great deal over four (very packed) weeks of instruction. In general, the plan is that we will work Mondays through Saturdays, with Sundays off. However, students should expect to be flexible as our work schedule will depend on many circumstances (e.g., weather, field conditions, field trip opportunities, and changes in field locations). Generally, expect to depart for the project area after breakfast at around 8 am on most days (earlier or later depending on weather and other conditions), and expect to take part in evening activities, lectures, and labs.

Students will be trained in a wide range of field and laboratory skills, which they will have ample opportunity to practice. Fieldwork activities include excavating units and subsurface shovel probes, screening soils, flotation, pedestrian survey, recording sites/features/isolates, drawing stratigraphic profiles, analyzing soils and geologic features, mapping, photographing, documenting vegetation and landforms, and revisiting previously recorded sites. Labs will provide students with opportunities for artifact and ecofact identification/analysis/recording, flotation and ethnobotanical analysis, cataloging, exposure to ArcGIS tools and site record systems (e.g., Washington State’s WISAARD system), and training in collections care and management.

Students and staff will share meal preparation duties and tasks related to camp and shared workspace maintenance. Students will rotate between cooking, maintenance tasks, and lab work in the evenings. Reading discussions, presentations, and daily activity discussions will also take place on most evenings as part of the course curriculum. Since graduate and undergraduate students will be enrolled in the same number of credits (6 units), graduate students will be expected to take on some additional responsibilities as well as a capstone project and presentation.

What are the physical requirements of the field school?

This field school cultivates an inclusive environment for people of all abilities. On most days, the majority of field school participants will engage in a variety of physical activities, including digging and skimming with shovels, troweling, carrying buckets of soil over short distances, shaking and sifting through screens, carrying field gear and equipment, some hiking through a variety of landforms, loading, and unloading vehicles and trailers, and setting up and taking down lodging and field equipment. Our priority is to ensure a safe and happy work environment, and we ask that you work to the best of your abilities within reason, and recognize and take precautions against the risks inherent in outdoor work.

Is there a syllabus and list of required readings?

A syllabus, complete with a list of required readings, will be distributed to registered students. Required readings will be printed on a reader and will also be made available through a shared course drive.

Code of Conduct, Dry Campus Policy

WSU is committed to maintaining an inclusive environment that is safe and free of discrimination and upholds a zero-tolerance policy for sexual and gender-based misconduct. All students and researchers will be required to adhere to WSU community standards and to review and sign a code of conduct that includes ethical standards for archaeological research, sustainable and collaborative practices, and policies prohibiting sexual harassment and misconduct, racism, ableism, and discrimination of any kind. As part of the course curriculum, students will critically engage with literature and discussions on harassment and equity issues in the sciences, with the goal of helping students to recognize biases and discrimination when they occur and actively promote safe and equitable work environments.

The field school policy is to respectfully adhere to Tribal wishes for a “dry campus” -meaning that drugs and alcohol are not permitted on Tribal properties (including the Indian Creek campground property and the dig site).

For more information on WSU community standards, visit To learn more about archaeological ethics, visit the Archaeological Ethics Database—created by the Register of Professional Archaeologists and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists—at

Click Here for a Printable PDF of the 2023 Field School Flyer