FORT ST.JOHN, B.C.- Local First Nation community members and shareholders were recently invited to explore archaeological excavations at the Tse’K’wa National Historic Site and discuss its future.
During the preview event, the Tse ‘K’ Was Heritage Society highlighted the recent completion of a geophysical survey of the property. The survey results will be utilized in planning the next archaeological dig at the site.
The geophysical survey was part of their five-year research agreement with Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the University of Northern BC to do archeological investigations on the property.
“This year’s field season paid attention to the geophysical scan, which is a type of non-invasive archeology where the focus is not on digging but instead on having a better understanding of what exists under the topsoil,” said Alyssa Currie, executive director of the Society.
She added that as the property is a historic site, they want to minimize the amount of digging conducted.
Currie said a geophysical scan allows archeologists to identify the area of high potential where they could find more historical artifacts and archaeological features such as hearths.
Garry Oker, president of the Tse’k’wa Heritage Society, said the goal of the special preview event was to understand the importance of academic archaeologists and recognize their work in preserving the history of the Dane-zaa people.
According to Oker, artifacts speak about the oral history of First Nation communities and guide Indigenous people to follow their ancestor’s dreams.
He believes the site has the potential to become a massive tourist attraction, which can help educate the public.
“Through tourism, Indigenous communities can educate and create awareness among the non-Indigenous community members about our history and traditions,” said Oker.
Currie echoed those sentiments and said the Tse’ K’ Wa site is likely one of Canada’s most important historical sites and can become the most prominent tourist attraction in northeastern B.C.
“Tse’K’wa’s vision is to be the voice of Dane-zaa people and acts as a medium to represent First Nations cultural values,” said Currie.
She also highlighted their continuous efforts to improve the outdoor developments to make the site more accessible for visitors, especially Elders.
Work continues to be done at the site, such as gardening that is currently underway and continuing to improve the infrastructure.
Currie hopes the site will be open to the public this coming July for self-guided historic site tours.
Tse’K’wa was designated as a historical site by Parks Canada in 2019 and was purchased by local First Nations in 2012.