ASBC Victoria: September Public Lecture – Isabelle Maurice-Hammond on Coast Salish Root Gardens

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The Archaeological Society of BC is happy to invite everyone to their first public talk of the 2019-2020 season, featuring Isabelle Maurice-Hammon, a Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Studies at UVIC, where she studies under friend of this blog, Dr. Darcy Mathews.  The text below and poster (PDF) are fairly self explanatory, suffice to say that Darcy is leading a multi-year project on ethnoecology on Tl’chés, a small island off Oak Bay/Victoria – this research is so multi-dimensional it makes my head spin, but it includes work in the intertidal zone, so it is ok by me.

Summary: This talk dives into the topic of intertidal root gardens which are areas of (primarily) intertidal marshland where First Nations people traditionally cultivated, managed and harvested large amounts of Pacific silverweed and springbank clover. Though some archaeological work has been done on root gardens (primarily in Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw and Nuu-chah-nulth territories), these sites have been largely overlooked in the Coast Salish. Furthermore, conclusive identification of these sites continues to primarily rely on community knowledge, which is no longer present in all cases. On the islands of Tl’ches (Chatham and Discovery Islands), traditionally territory of the Songhees First Nation, a site that strongly resembles a root garden has been identified. However, conclusive identification is limited by a lack of surviving knowledge in Songhees about these site types and a lack of comparable in the Coast Salish area more generally. In this talk, I describe the methods I am deploying to better understand these under-studied sites, and the impacts this may have on our understanding of traditional Coast Salish cultivation practices.

Bio: Isabelle Maurice-Hammond is a PhD candidate in the ethnoecological stream of the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. She works at the intersection of ethnoecology, ethnobotany, and coastal archaeology, focusing on the deep histories and resurgence of traditional First Nations methods of plant cultivation. Isabelle is currently working with the Songhees nation to better identify and understand an intertidal root garden on their territory. Isabelle holds an MA in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Toronto, where she studied the power of decolonial aesthetics in reclaiming urban centres as Indigenous spaces, and a BA in Anthropology from  UBC.

 

 

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