Village Life at Dałth Gyilakyaw: A Cultural Keystone Place for the Gitsm’geelm, Tsimshian

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 17 March, 2016 - 09:15
, Chelsey Geralda - Simon Fraser University
, Dana - Simon Fraser University
, Leslie Main - Athabasca
, Nancy J. - University of Victoria

Robin Town (Dałth Gyilakyaw) is a long-lived village of the Gitsm’geelm (Tsimshian) First Nations of Northwestern British Columbia. The legacy of generations lived on the landscape are visible today in impressive archaeological features, modified ecosystems, and remnant orchard gardens. Many Gitsm’geelm have strong cultural ties to Robin Town as it was only recently abandoned in the late 19th century. The village continues to support important memories, lessons, and experiences for community members.  However, due to settler colonialism and new lifeways, much of the deep time history of this place including how people interacted with this cultural landscape, are hidden in its material remains. We use a variety of approaches, including archaeological and paleoecological methods, botanical inventories, historic maps and community member interviews to reconstruct how Gitsm’geelm people lived their lives at Robin Town. This research focuses on traditional orcharding and archaeological features as one aspect of the historical ecology of this Cultural Keystone Place.