On August 26, 40 paddlers and a few brave swimmers made their way to Grace Islet in Ganges Harbour, led by a 30 ft cedar dugout canoe from Cowichan Tribes. Holding hands and singing, they came to support demands by chiefs from seven local First Nations to stop construction of a luxury home on this sacred burial ground.
Led by Tseycum Chief Vern Jacks and together with members from the Cowichan, Musqueam and Kwakiutl First Nations, protectors of all ages from Salt Spring Island bore witness to the desecration of the ancient burial cairns, now encased in concrete in complete violation of the site alteration permit issued by the Archaeology Branch. Read more.
The future of a tiny islet a short kayak ride from Saltspring Island is up in the air after the Capital Regional District decided not to expropriate the aboriginal burial site where an Edmonton businessman is building a house.
Members of the district’s board concluded in a vote Wednesday that its hands are tied. Similarly, the province says there isn’t much it can do either because the landowner isn’t violating any permits.
But Ben Isitt, a district director who had proposed expropriation, said he’d be willing to stand with First Nations. That action could include “civil disobedience if necessary,” he said, saying he might join protests on the islet. Read more.
A three-year study of ancient clam gardens in the Pacific Northwest reveals that coastal First Nations people used to reap superior harvests using rock-walled beach terraces.
The study’s lead author, Amy Groesbeck, was a student in SFU’s School of Resource and Environmental Management when she initiated the research for her master’s thesis. Her supervisors, who all helped with research and authoring the study, included SFU professors Anne Salomon, an ecologist; Dana Lepofsky, an archaeologist; and University of Washington biologist Kirsten Rowell.
In the past, as indigenous coastal communities from Alaska to Washington State grew in numbers, people needed to devise sustainable ways of feeding themselves. One of the ways they did this was by cultivating clams in human-made, rock-walled beach terraces known as clam gardens. Read more.
Ancient people who lived in in Northern America about 5,000 years ago have living descendants today, new research suggests.
Researchers reached that conclusion after comparing DNA from both fossil remains found on the northern coast of British Columbia, Canada, and from living people who belong to several First Nations tribes in the area.
The new results, published today (July 3) in the journal PLOS ONE, are consistent with nearby archaeological evidence suggesting a fairly continuous occupation of the region for the last 5,000 years.
"We’re finding links that tie maternal lineages from as far back as the mid-Holocene 5,000 years ago to living descendants living today in Native American communities," said study co-author Ripan Malhi, a molecular anthropologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Read more.
The excavation of what appears to be an ancient food storage system along the beach of Russell Island, between Fulford Harbour and Swartz Bay, is helping to cast more light on the history and development of local aboriginal groups.
Six years after researchers discovered two clam gardens along the beachfront, University of Victoria students are sifting through sand, gravel and shells to figure out how and when the gardens were built. Some researchers have suggested the gardens helped augment a community’s food supply.
The gardens are beach areas where clams grow naturally and have been enhanced to increase clam production. Read more.
NANAIMO, B.C. — Members of a Nanaimo First Nations group are outraged after crews contracted by BC Hydro damaged a documented ancient rock art site during work last week.
Douglas White, chief of the Snuneymuxw First Nation said the damage is disrespectful of native heritage and he doesn’t understand how crews could make the mistake, since existing petroglyph rock art sites are documented and protected by legislation.
Petroglyphs can be more than 2,000 years old and typically feature etched drawings that serve as a record of First Nations history on the surface of flat bedrock sandstone.
“This is a notoriously well-known site,” White said. “I don’t understand this to be a mistake that can be made … this is the kind of desecration where I would expect charges to be laid.” Read more.
The return of the bones of 11 Sto: lo ancestors from UBC Friday could one day help other First Nations get their ancestral remains back from other institutions.
The Sto: lo bones were returned during a ceremony at the Sto: lo Research and Resource Management Centre (SRRMC), marking a major milestone in a five-year process that has involved UBC, Sto: lo Nation, Sto: lo Tribal Council and other Sto: lo First Nations.
The remains had been held at UBC’s Laboratory of Archaeology starting in the 1950s. Because the founder of the lab, Charles Borden, was the only resident archaeologist in B.C. at that time, people who found remains on farms and construction sites routinely boxed them up and sent them to UBC. Read more.
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. - Along the banks of B.C.’s Babine River sits an archeological treasure trove, an ancient village that may have been used as a crossroad for First Nations dating back more than 1,300 years.
While the Babine Lake First Nation knew their ancestors’ village was there, it’s untilled ground for archeologists.
Before the arrival of Prof. Farid Rahemtulla and his crew from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Northern British Columbia, experts hadn’t searched the site.
"It’s just one of those places that hasn’t really been explored very well in terms of archaeology," Rahemtulla said in an interview.
The village site is about 100 kilometres from Smithers in B.C.’s northern Interior. Read more.