, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 496–513 | Cite as

Collaborating on the Federal Level: Moving Beyond Mandated Consultation in the Section 106 Process

  • Kelly M. BrittEmail author


Collaboration and consultation are terms involving working with stakeholders; consultation implies a formulaic, reactionary product, while collaboration suggests a voluntary, shared method and a mutual goal. Within this decolonial approach to conducting archaeology, little discussion surrounds what this looks like within the public sector in the USA. Since consultation as mandate is based in a colonial process and has definitive bureaucratic boundaries, the question arises can public sector archaeologies take a postcolonial approach to required consultation? If so, how? This paper looks at areas of constraint and potential spaces for moving beyond the mandate of consultation within a federal agency.

Key Words

Collaboration Postcolonial Public archaeology Decolonial 


Collaboration contre consultation – ces termes impliquent un travail avec des parties prenantes ; la consultation suppose un produit conventionnel, réactionnaire alors que la collaboration suggère une méthode volontaire et partagée ainsi qu’un objectif commun. Au sein de cette approche de décolonisation pour la conduite de l’archéologie, il existe fort peu de discussions traitant de la forme qu’elle peut prendre au sein du secteur public aux États-Unis. Étant donné que la consultation en tant que mandat se base sur un processus colonial et présente des limites bureaucratiques définitives, la question qui se pose est la suivante : les archéologies du secteur public peuvent-elles adopter une approche postcoloniale pour la consultation requise ? Si tel est le cas, comment ? Cet article examine les zones de restrictions et les espaces potentiels pour passer outre le mandat de consultation au sein d’une agence fédérale.


Colaboración versus consulta: términos que implican trabajar con las partes interesadas; la consulta implica un producto formulado y reaccionario, mientras que la colaboración sugiere un método voluntario compartido y un objetivo mutuo. Dentro de este enfoque descolonial para llevar a cabo la arqueología, poca discusión aborda cómo esto se ve dentro del sector público en los Estados Unidos. Dado que la consulta como mandato se basa en un proceso colonial y tiene límites burocráticos definitivos, surge la pregunta: ¿pueden las arqueologías del sector público adoptar un enfoque poscolonial a la consulta requerida? Si es así, ¿cómo? Este documento analiza áreas de limitación y espacios potenciales para ir más allá del mandato de consulta dentro de una agencia federal.



I thank the co-editors of this volume, Bonnie Clark and Audrey Horning for their support and organization as well as Meredith Chesson and Bonnie Clark for organizing the 2017 Society for American Archaeology session that led to further discussions around this important topic and finally to this volume. Additionally, I want to thank present and former colleagues at FEMA and Brooklyn College for ongoing discussions and suggestions, especially Jason Fenn and Rosamond King for their time, thoughts and kind words of wisdom.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

While no longer a federal employee, I would like to state the disclaimer that opinions presented in this paper are personal thoughts of the author and do not represent the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Brooklyn College or any other agency, professional organization, or institution.

Ethical Approval

The author received IRB approval January 8, 2019 through Brooklyn College’s IRB office for the subject of this paper.


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Copyright information

© World Archaeological Congress 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, Brooklyn CollegeCUNYBrooklynUSA

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