Salt Spring Island is a large island in the Salish Sea, close to Vancouver Island’s southeast corner (map). Quite a while ago I highlighted the photographs of the “Bob Akerman” museum, which comes via the comprehensive Salt Spring Island archives. There are a few other photo records of archaeological collections there which I thought were worth a quick look. For example, the picture above from the Charles Sampson Collection shows some fairly spectacular ground slate points to the left, and what may be a Charles phase (ca. 4,000 year old) contracting stem point to the bottom right. It’s not just archaeological collections that the archives has going for it, though.
The Cusheon Cove museum has several pages of pictures of historic era Chinese and Japanese artifacts. One of them, above, looks like it might be Coast Salish rather than Chinese. The Salt Spring Island Museum also has 10 pages of pictures of historic artifacts online.
At some point, someone made a trip to Victoria to photograph artifacts from Salt Spring held in the Royal BC Museum. Not all the pictures are as good as the one above, which is of a stunning bowl. It’s not just archaeology at the Salt Spring archives. They have done a good job of putting hundreds, or probably thousands of historic photos online. There are multiple ways of exploring the archives, you can go through collection by collection on the left of this page, or thematically via the central column on the same page, such as six pages of historic logging pictures.
More rewarding for me was the Multicultural portal, which assembles resources on the surprisingly ethnically diverse early history of Salt Spring, which in addition to the Coast Salish nations, included Black, Kanaka (“Hawaiian”), Japanese and Chinese settlers in large numbers. It also includes essays by Eric McLay on the Coast Salish cultural landscape, a basic map of aboriginal place names (presumably Hul’qumi’num; it doesn’t say; cf. non-aboriginal place names) and an impressive series of sound files and a short essay by Tom Koppel on Kanaka settlement. And of course, don’t forget to revisit the Akerman Collection itself. All told the various people behind these archives are doing a great job. It could be more standardized in presentation and the photos could have more metadata added to them, but first and foremost a community is spending time and effort in documenting its own history and putting it on the internet for easy access. I particularly respect the fact that, unlike so many small historical societies in British Columbia, there is acknowledgment and appreciation of the continuing legacy of First Nations culture, whose territory these settler museums now occupy. From this, all else will follow.