Nov. 16, 2000 Vol . 19, No. 6
Native grad delves into past
Rudy Reimer, a member of the
Squamish Nation, says research for his
Master's thesis "was a very personal
experience. I was essentially looking
into my past."
By Candice Martins, SFU Media & Public Relations, reprinted from SFU News.
After two summers of mountain climbing, dodging bears, and slogging through the bush with a 60-pound pack, Rudy Reimer
successfully defended his archaeology Master's thesis in August.
© Simon Fraser University, Media and Public Relations
The focus of his fieldwork was to study seasonal base camps established by Squamish and Similkameen people thousands of
years ago in the mountains of what are now called Garibaldi and Cathedral provincial parks.
Reimer is the first archaeologist to systematically search the region for mountain camps used by people from valley bottom
villages during summer and fall months.
Villagers hiked into the mountains to gather plant, animal, and stone resources available during the two seasons.
The mountain camps Reimer found range in age from an estimated 1,000 to 8,000 years and were likely used for one night to
two months, depending on the nature and availability of nearby resources.
Data from the sites support the record of cultural development in the region's lowland villages.
For example, Reimer found sources of obsidian, a type of volcanic glass, that chemical analysis linked to tools from valley
villages up to 120 km away.
His research also helps date and confirm Squamish and Similkameen oral histories that recount seasonal expeditions into the
mountains. The contribution is especially rewarding to Reimer, a member of the Squamish Nation.
"A lot of people tend to go for more high profile archaeology, but for me this was a very personal experience. I was essentially
looking into my past."
Reimer currently works as a cultural land and resource management consultant and says southern B.C.'s archaeological record
has information relevant to today's society.
For example, it shows some communities were forced to relocate after they exhausted natural resources, such as salmon stocks,
within their areas. Reimer hopes such information will help current governments and industry make good resource management