Dr. Kisha Supernant works to locate the missing children of residential school

Dr. Kisha Supernant is an award-winning teacher, researcher and writer.

As the director of the Institute of Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology and associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alberta, Dr. Supernant has been increasingly engaged in using remote sensing technologies to locate and protect unmarked burials at the request of First Nations communities in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Ground penetrating radar (GPR) is the most commonly used and the most reliable technology being used today, she said, but it’s used in a very specific way. It’s all about the correct frequencies, the correct way of collecting the information to ensure Nations are actually going to find graves.

“Most industrial applications are not designed to find the small, shallow, often targets of especially children’s unmarked graves.”

The Canadian Archaeological Association with the Unmarked Graves Working Group, of which Supernant chairs, has been trying to put out independent, reliable information about data collection and methods about GPR, she said. She recommends First Nations look at those resources.

Supernant has published in local and international journals on GIS in archaeology, collaborative archaeological practice, Métis archaeology, and Indigenous archaeology in the post-Truth and Reconciliation Commission era.

Supernant also leads Exploring Métis Identity Through Archaeology, a collaborative research project which takes a relational approach to exploring the material past of Métis communities, including of her own family in western Canada.