Institute at Brown for Environment and Society

Rachel Thimmig



Rachel studies the historical archaeology of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara (MHA) in North Dakota, specifically examining how the MHA adapted and persisted despite the many settler colonial forces that sought to destroy their culture and appropriate their land. Her research takes environmental degradation into account because it is inseparable from settler colonial resource extraction in the late 19th century (e.g. deforestation of the limited trees on the Plains, decimation of the bison to near extinction, and forced resettlement away from the most productive agricultural land). Settler colonial forces still exist today, and Rachel's inquiries into salvage archaeology are intimately connected to present-day issues of environmental racism resulting from the Bakken oil boom, pipelines, and dam-building projects.