Tla’amin Archaeology

Toggling Composite Harpoon head, articulated in situ.

Toggling Composite Harpoon head, articulated in situ.

The Tla’amin (Sliammon)  First Nation on the Sunshine Coast (map) have been engaged in a wonderful community-based archaeology project with Dana Lepofsky at SFU and her team.  It’s not surprising when you think of what a great person Dana is – brilliant, yet nice, warm, generous. (Hi Dana!)

The website for this project is well worth browsing to see what meaningful partnerships with First Nations looks like.  I think it is a model for the future of BC Archaeology to work together – for then the project becomes not all about the past, but all about the present.  As they say – the past is over; it only exists in the present. Old things exist, but they exist now.   So how can we, as archaeologists, use our particular skills to help communities and the public appreciate the past as a meaningful part of the present, and hence of the future?  This impressive web site shows many great ways how.

Check out this page on Kleh Kwa Num – Scuttle Bay, for example, whih deftly points to the parallel stories of oral history, ethnohistory, and archaeology.  Or, this video of “what happens when an archaeological site is logged?”  As Elsie Paul, a Tl’amin elder says, their ancestral land was hammered for a century and what did aboriginal people get from it?  “Nothing”.  And as Dana says, it became very difficult to find intact archaeological sites around Powell River and the industrial areas, in particular.

These downloadable posters are also really well done, as is their prospectus/report (PDF) – very accessible stuff.   I do wish they didn’t use the silly flash interface for their pictures, though they do allow access to them otherwise – this project is really turning archaeology on its head!

Upside Down Archaeology in Tla'amin Territory.

Upside Down Archaeology in Tla'amin Territory.

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