A Cartography of Struggle: Cultural Landscapes and Contested Archaeology in Northwest British Columbia

Date and Time: 
Friday, 12 May 2017 - 11:15am
Author(s): 
Armstrong
, Chelsey Geralda - Simon Fraser University

Northwest British Columbia is amidst a massive expansion in oil and gas exploration and export. Archaeological assessments are mandatory prior to infrastructure development like pipelines and processing plants. Most archaeological assessments near the Skeena River, home of Gitxsan and Tsimshian Nations, have been rote at best and have failed to consult the appropriate First Nations communities. This paper reviews two independent archaeological assessments conducted by the author, which cover the territory of Luutkuudiiwuz and Gitwilgyoots. It is widely recognized that the cultural landscape of these communities is much more extensive than the clearly visible archaeological record, however proponent-paid archaeologists recommend development based on reports which state neither community have sites on their territories worth protecting. Such archaeology effectively acts as handmaiden of development while neglecting important cultural heritage like place naming, oral stories and histories, social ecological features like forest gardens, and the larger spatial scales on which humans operate.