In October 2021, the SEAC Executive Committee (EC) approved the recommendation of the C.B. Moore Award Task Force. The task force, chaired by Amanda Regnier assisted by Beau Carroll and Shane Miller, was appointed by President Maureen Meyers to consider the concerns voiced by the Native American Affairs Committee (NAAC) about the naming of the award.
The recommendation of the Task Force is clear and powerful. They recognized the importance of tradition within SEAC, as well as Moore’s early work on many key sites in the Southeastern United States but note the deeply problematic nature of Moore’s focus on burial mounds and his treatment of human remains. Moore’s legacy is particularly troubling to Native Americans, “who are working to locate and repatriate the individuals and associated artifacts left behind [by] their ancestors that Moore excavated and scattered across numerous museums.”
Citing the statement made by the SEAC Executive Committee in the summer of 2020 in response to the killing of George Floyd, the Task Force stated: “If SEAC truly wishes to acknowledge the colonialist origins of our discipline, create an organization and annual meeting that is inclusive and considers the voices of all stakeholders, and make meaningful effort at collaborative understandings of the past, it is time to rename this award. Changing the name of an award that references an early archaeologist whose work was based in a distinctly colonialist approach and is thereby offensive to descendant communities is one part of the process of assessing and reorienting the organization as an inclusive space where the voices of marginalized communities are heard and action is taken to correct past wrongs.”
The Task Force further stated that “Moore and his methods represent the past of the discipline and there are better ways to invoke the future of archaeology. In the opinion of the committee, it is unequivocally time to rename the award.” The SEAC Board voted to change the award name in a unanimous vote at the SEAC Executive Committee Meeting in October 2021. President Meyers announced this change at the 2021 SEAC Business Meeting in Durham, North Carolina and said that henceforth the award will be known as the “SEAC Rising Scholar Award.” These changes will be made to the website, including a history of the Award, reasons for the name change, and a list of winners under the old and renamed award.