Tag Archives: Vancouver

Happy “Birthday”, Vancouver

Unidentified Musqueam Chief as portrayed by Cardero in 1792. Source: Vancouver Sun.

The City of Vancouver had its 125th anniversary yesterday, and the local press was full of reflective pieces on civic leaders, famous visitors, notable crimes and, of course, sports.  Well, it would be churlish not to wish Vancouver Happy Birthday!  Well done, Vancouverites.  But in all the coverage of this momentous event, I only see one single article which acknowledges that people might have lived at the mouth of the Fraser River for a tad longer than 125 years.  And a curious article (PDF)  it is: Ancient history of Vancouver’s first peoples: The city’s history predates its 1886 founding, with a native midden dating back 9,000 years

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Two upcoming events in Vancouver and Victoria


1936 Field Trip by the Vancouver Natural History Society to Musqueam. Source: Vancouver Public Library. VPL Accession Number: 19483

In Vancouver this Sunday, September 19 at 1.00 there is a guided walk of the Ancient Salmon Stream and Musqueam Village, starting at Jericho Beach (details here) with Victor Guerin, “a cultural/linguistic consultant and historian, a member of the Musqueam First Nation and a speaker of the Musqueam dialect of the Central Coast Salish language Halkomelem. He has been learning about his people’s culture and history his entire life, including some 16 years of consultation and documentation with family elders and 4 years formal training in the Musqueam language with linguistic analysts at UBC.”

This talk/walk is one in a series from the False Creek Watershed Society, most of which look like they hold promise for an interesting conversation between historical ecology, traditional knowledge, and landscape development.  It would be good to see connections built or strengthened between restoration groups and archaeologists, who share many of the same values.  You can see the other talks and walks they sponsor here – two of them are actually today, Saturday September 18th.  OK, go to those as well!

The other upcoming event is the  Archaeology Society of B.C. monthly public lecture in Victoria, which is on Tuesday 21 September.  This month’s speaker is Grant Keddie from the Royal B.C. Museum.

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Capilano University Field School Blog

"At each logging camp a familiar discovery was a wood burning stove or oven. The one pictured {above} had stumped some former students of Muckle's in the past because the student who helped recover the stove had read an engraving on the side saying "To Jake". After pondering upon this curious inscription, it was realized that the "J" had incorrectly been read, and the whole etching had actually said "To Bake", commonly found on ovens." Source: http://archaeologyfieldschool.blogspot.com/

I noticed that the Capilano University Archaeology Field School, which just started a few days ago near Vancouver, has a blog.  So far there are three days worth of entries and it looks like it will be a lot of fun to follow along with the students who, under the direction of  Bob Muckle, will be continuing to work on the archaeology of historic logging in the Seymour River Watershed, which flows into Burrard Inlet.  Much of the logging was conducted by Japanese immigrants, making for a nice overlay of ethnicity and capitalism and material culture.

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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.

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Forthcoming Vancouver Archaeology Talks

Once in a while I yawn, stretch, and look across the Moat of Georgia and notice something interesting happening in Vancouver.  This time I see there are two forthcoming events for those within striking distance of the Velvet Rut.

First, UBC is holding its annual Archaeology Day this weekend, Sunday March 21st.  The program, which looks great, can be viewed here.  The event is free and open to the public and is held in the Anthropology and Sociology Building on the UBC Campus.

Second, the Vancouver Chapter of the Archaeological Society of BC is holding a public lecture featuring SFU professor Eldon Yellowhorn.  His topic is “Encountering Modernity: the Piikani Historical Archaeology Project.  The poster is below, click for a legible version.  The talk is Wednesday March 24th at 7.00 at the Museum of Vancouver (who don’t seem to have it listed on their calendar), and it is free and open to the public.

Memo to the ASBC-Vancouver: update your web site if you want people to come to your talks.

Click to enlarge

One more update on the Museum of Vancouver’s Petroglyph.

Interior Petroglyph now at Museum of Vancouver, while still in Stanley Park ca. 1980. Source: DanLeen.org

I have posted several times recently on a superb interior petroglyph boulder languishing in a shady courtyard at the Museum of Vancouver.  Together with Heather Pringle’s posts on this topic, we seem to have caught the attention of the Board of Directors of the Museum.

One of the Directors, Anthropology Professor Bruce Miller of UBC, called me the other day.  He consented to me posting notes from our conversation.   Continue reading

“Correct Map of the Gold Diggings”: May 20th, 1858

Detail of 1858 Map of Fraser Gold Diggings. Click for full image.

From UBC, this interesting 1858 San Francisco broadsheet “The Pictorial Newsletter of California” (large JPG file).  Most of the text is mundane births and deaths, but the map above from it is a lot of fun.  It’s especially interesting to see the “Cowitchin” Village at New Westminster.  Now, “Cowitchin” was often used as a generic term for many Coast Salish people in the early historic period.  But note too, just upriver at Fort Langley, a “Ninnimuch” Village, presumably Snuneymuxw First Nation, also known historically as the “Nanaimo” people, whose core territory would be on east Central Vancouver Island.  There are lots of reports of Vancouver Island nations paddling up and down past Fort Langley so its not that much of a surprise, but rather a nice testament to the extensive regional trade and, perhaps, permeable social networks in place across the greater Gulf of Georgia. It also makes me think the “Cowitchin Village” might indeed really be Cowichan. It’s notable the “Pinkslitsa River” (Harrison River) is the only lower tributary mapped, probably because it was an important route in and out of the middle Fraser, bypassing the canyon.  It’s a nice map, it’s early, and I’d never seen it before, so thanks to UBC and their Early BC Newspapers page.

Detail of 1858 map showing "Cowitchin" and "Ninnimuch" Villages on Lower Fraser.

From the UBC notes:  Pictorial News Letter of California: for the Steamer John L. Stephens San Francisco: Hutchings & Rosenfield; Charles F. Robbins, Printer, 1858

“Issued exactly one month after the first steamer left San Francisco headed for the Fraser (Bancroft p. 359), this appears to be the first separate publication relating to the Fraser River Gold Rush, and the first map published to illustrate the area for potential gold-seekers.”

You can also download a short PowerPoint file here, and there is an overview essay here.