Tag Archives: Squamish

BC Archaeology Forum 2011: Squamish, November 11 and 12

Detail of Archaeology Forum announcement. Click for PDF

I recently received the notice that the B.C. Archaeology Forum is to be held this November 11 and 12 in Squamish.  The event will be hosted by the Sḵwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Nation, and is being organized largely by Rudy Reimer/Yumks.  Anyone can register for this event for a highly reasonable $10.00: full information is given in this PDF file. The Forum is a great event, bringing together Consultants, First Nations, Academics and Government Archaeologists in one place to share the latest discoveries and to talk policy and matters relating to the practice of archaeology.  The deadline for presenting is October 28th, but you can decide to simply attend closer to the last minute, I believe.

That said I won’t be making it this year because of an unbreakable commitment.  This highlights an unfortunate part of “Forum Culture” – it is routinely announced only a month or so in advance, even when the location is known much further ahead. Many people have to arrange to take time off, or gain advance permission or funding to travel, organize a ferry load of students, or at least keep their schedule clear for this event.  I think I’ve missed three of the last four for this reason. It’d be great if we could change this, and at least get the location and date out earlier – maybe by the beginning of summer.  Speaking of, next year it would be cool to have it on the Island.  Who’s up for it?

More on the Sea-to-Sky Cultural Journey

Sign at the Horsehoe bay kiosk. Source: tad McIlwraith flickr.com account.

A month or two ago I commented on the Squamish and Lil’wat Cultural Journey website, which explores oral history and place names in the traditional territory of these two southwestern British Columbia First Nations.  I was really happy to see that Douglas College Anthropologist (and occasional commenter here) Dr. Tad McIlwraith has carried the review much further.  He’s even taken it into the field, so to speak, by documenting and discussing the actual cultural centre itself, and also the roadside kiosks which bring Squamish and Lil’wat histories to the travelling public.

Tad’s review has two parts.

Continue reading

More views of the Museum of Vancouver petroglyph problem

Petroglyph from Lone Creek Cabin, Stl’atl’imx Territory, now in an outdoor courtyard at the Museum of Vancouver. Source: Squamish-Lil'wat Centre.

I’ve posted before on the large petroglyph boulder from the central Fraser River that is being kept in a sub-standard context at the Museum of Vancouver.  I found some more pictures of it, from the website of the Squamish-Lil’wat Cultural Centre (which is excellent).  These additional pictures confirm there is a serious conservation issue at the Museum of Vancouver.  I don’t want to beat a dead horse but I am still mad about this situation. Continue reading

Squamish and Lil’wat Cultural Journey

Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Journeys Map. Click to go to the site.

The Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations have jointly produced a really nice website which explores the cultural landscape of their traditional territories, which lie just north of Vancouver. Edit: it looks like their website now sells kitchen products – obviously they did not keep their registration up to date.

The interactive map has dozens of “clickable” elements, taking you to place name information, to the description of rock art motifs, and to landscape features imbued with stories from history and the supernatural.  Some of these include simple but effective animations, and the overall site design is clean and harmonious.

It seems that seven highway pullouts have also been designed with this information: aboriginal cultural tourism out on the land is something I have long thought has enormous potential in B.C.  Looking at a book or a website is one thing, but having the information available, provided by the First Nations, at the place where the story happened or the traditional use occurred, seems like it would be very effective, and popular, way of educating the public about the thousands of years of cultural history on either side of the Olympics.

Supernatural serpent emerging from Ts’zil (Mt. Currie). Screenshot from culturaljourney.ca

Chief Thunder Voice

Bing Crosby being invested as Squamish Chief Thunder Voice.

In 1948, Bing Crosby, then a first-rank international star, visited Vancouver – and ended up being invested as Squamish Chief Thunder Voice, among other civic performances.  The Vancouver City Archives has the video (1.00 minute in).

By the way, what is up with coastal First Nations adopting feather war bonnets?  Is this a kind of weird double reverse emulation: trying to look more stereotypically Chiefly in the eyes of the majority population?  Is it intra-aboriginal cultural appropriation?  Or do they just look freakin’ awesome?  Note the tomahawk as well in the picture above.  Someone should write a paper on “Plains Paraphernalia as  Signifiers of Rank on the Historic Northwest Coast”.  Or maybe they have, already.  I’d read it.

West Vancouver Archives

Tomb of Chief Joe Capilano ca. 1917

Visitors to the Tomb of Chief Joe Capilano ca. 1917

Stumbling on the Vancouver Public Library’s photo site the other day got me poking around smaller museums and archives for archaeology and First Nations related stuff.  It turns out there’s a lot out there.  First up is this picture I found at the West Vancouver Museum and Archives.  They have a searchable collection, within which a fair number of digitized historic photos.  A fair amount of stuff is under “First Nations” and “Indian”.  To the left is a remarkable picture of Chief Joe Capilano’s tomb (map).  It’s quite a slab, house-shaped (though not a shed roof house!), but surely it is as close to a mortuary house as it is to traditional Christian mausoleum.     Joe Capilano was a leader of the Sḵwxwú7mesh (Squamish) nation, to whom he was known as Sa7plek.

Sa7plek: Chief Joe Capilano

Sa7plek: Chief Joe Capilano

Apparently, he recieved the title of ‘Chief”  (via recieving the name Kiyapalanexw (Capilano), in order to facilitate his trip to Ottawa and to London, to meet King Edward VII.   The name bestowal was in the belief that he would need a title in order to speak “Chief-to-Chief” with the Prime Minister and the King, or so says wikipedia.  These smaller archives have fairly idisoyncratic interfaces and often the context given is poor.  Nonetheless, I will occasionally, or even frequently, post pictures or other material from them.