Quantcast

Archaeological Find Confirms Oral History Of Indigenous People

Indigenous people off the coast of British Columbia, known as the Heiltsuk, have said their people occupied Bella Bella island for thousands of years. Because it was an oral history, there were no formal records available to compare. Now, archeologists have uncovered evidence that the Heiltsuk's oral history is right.

"The Heiltsuk people have lived in their lands; on what has come to be called the Central Coast of British Columbia, since time immemorial," read a 2001 article in 'Heiltsuk Occasional Papers: A Journal on Social, Cultural & Environmental Issues'. As it turns out, they were right. Archeologists have just unearthed evidence that the Heiltsuk have been in the area for 14,000 years.

"Heiltsuk oral history talks of a strip of land in that area where the excavation took place. It was a place that never froze during the ice age and it was a place where our ancestors flocked to for survival," William Housty, a member of the Heiltsuk Nation, tells CBC News.

A dig on Triquet Island on B.C.'s Central Coast is confirming the oral history. Archeologists in British Columbia excavated a settlement that has been dated to 14,000 years ago, during the last ice age. University of Victoria scholar Alisha Gauvreau, Ph.D., and the Hakai institute worked together to excavate artifacts from the island, including carved wooden tools, remnants of ancient hearth fires and other items.

"When First Nations talk about time immemorial, it just goes to show how far back the occupation of this land goes back in deep time," said Gauvreau.

The find is exciting for indigenous people of the local area because it validates the Heiltsuk history scientifically.

"When we do go into negotiations, our oral history is what we go to the table with," said Housty, a member of the board of directors for the Heiltsuk Resource Management Department.

"When we do go into negotiations, our oral history is what we go to the table with... So now we don't just have oral history, we have this archeological information. It's not just an arbitrary thing that anyone's making up ... We have a history supported from Western science and archeology."

The find is also exciting for North America because it supports one of the main theories on how humans first came to the Americas. For a while now, there have been two main theories.

One theory is that humans walked over a land bridge from Asia to Alaska, and that this brought them through an ice-free corridor East of the Rockies. The land bridge is believed to be covered by water since the last ice age melted.

The other theory is that they traveled by boat from Asia to what is now Alaska. The new find supports the latter theory. Carbon-dated tools and other evidence is backing up the boat theory.

"From our site, it is apparent that they were rather adept sea mammal hunters," said Gauvreau.
From there, the first North American visitors found that strip of ice-free land and eventually made their way through what is now eastern and central Canada.

Dr. Gauvreau will be presenting the findings to the Society for American Archeology coming up in Vancouver this week.

Source: CBC
Photos: YouTube

Tell Us What You Think

More News Stories

Julia Poff​, a 46-year-old resident ​of Houston​, is in a world of trouble. That’s because she felt the need to mail booby-trapped ​packages​ to...

Visiting the dentist is not a favored task for many people, and even those that drag themselves there without issue tend to grin and bear it till...

After the chief of police in a Florida city came under fire for parking his SUV patrol unit on a sidewalk, he responded by giving himself a...

According to the Sacramento Bee, 34-year-old Ka Yang was convicted of first-degree murder and assault on a child.

The Sacramento,...

The FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email practices is under scrutiny by the Justice Department, according to CNN.

The television...

Latest News Stories

Manny Pacquiao, the boxer turned Philippine Senate candidate has been cut off from his Nike endorsement contract. In a statement, Nike said "We...

Celine Dion appeared on the telethon 'Stand Up to Cancer' last week and gave an emotional performance. After losing loved ones to cancer, the...

A courtroom in the state of Massachusetts erupted into a chaotic scene when the family member of a murder victim went ballistic and attempted to...

How do you explain to a child that while some of us have more than we need, there are others who live on the streets without proper food, clothing...

In many cases, it's good to be honest and to speak your mind. In some cases, not so much. There are definitely thoughts you should keep to...