Tag Archives: Nooksack

Controversy at Cherry Point site WA, 45WH1

Foreshore near 45WH1.  Source: Re-Sources.

Foreshore near 45WH1. Source: Re-Sources.

I haven’t been following the story at all, but there seems to be quite the controversy going on at Cherry Point, not far north of Bellingham on the coast of Washington State (map).  This large site, in Lummi Nation territory and known to them as Xwe’ chi’ eXen, has seen a lot of archaeological work over the years: about 300 cubic metres was  excavated in a series of WWU fieldschools in the 1970s and 80s under the direction of Garland Grabert. Dating back to at least 3500 years old, has some unusual features, such as being on a wave cut bank over a cobble beach with unusual offshore topography, suggesting proximity to a reef-netting site.

As its site number indicates, it’s the first site recorded by archaeologists in Whatcom County – which usually means it’s a very prominent site.  Indeed, it’s both culturally and scientifically important, and, unfortunately, has seen a lot of impact and is currently threatened. The source of the problem is a major coal port which is being planned. Interestingly enough, when the developer jumped the gun and started core-sampling the site before authorization, they were  taken to court and recently fined 1.6 million dollars.  Which is a lot of dollars. Continue reading

A Stillaguamish River Canoe

Roughly dressed block of cedar in preparation for carving. Source: flickr.com

The Stillaguamish Tribe live along the Stillaguamish River basin (map) of Northwestern Washington State.  They are a tribe which missed out on any reservation land in the 1850s and have struggled somewhat at times to maintain cultural identity as a diaspora.  Regaining Federal Status in 1976 was important to the tribe of about 200 members, as was 2009’s first “First Salmon” ceremonies in a generation.

An interesting and encouraging development seems to be the recent carving of the first Stillaguamish river canoe in a century.  While the larger dugout canoes (still being carved) of the outer coast nations, such as the Haida and Nuu-chah-nulth, are better known emblems of the Northwest Coast as a whole, these river canoes were equally important to the inland waterway and riverine nations of the Fraser Valley and Puget Sound.

According to an informative and well-written article in the Everett HeraldNet, the story starts with an interesting origin of the cedar log itself.

Continue reading