General Research Interests
My general interests are the archaeology and ethnography of Canadian First Nations, particularly those of the Northwest Coast. My specific research has focused on the Nuu-chah-nulth of western Vancouver Island. I also have a research and teaching interest in Aboriginal arts, particularly on the development of the Northwest Coast art form. Native oral traditions and their application to archaeology are another interest.
From 1991 to 1996 I co-directed the Toquaht Archaeological Project in western Barkley Sound, Vancouver Island. Using the traditional territory of the Toquaht (one of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations) as our study area, we conducted archaeological inventory, excavated five precontact shell midden sites, and collected surviving site use traditions. In 1999 we moved into the central islands of Barkley Sound and initiated the Tseshaht Archaeological Project in partnership with Parks Canada and the Tseshaht First Nation. Our work until 2001 was based at the large village where the Tseshaht origin stories say they were created. In 2004 we initiated the Huu-ay-aht Archaeological Project, in co-operation with the Huu-ay-aht First Nation in eastern Barkley Sound, near Bamfield. Our on-going work involves excavation at a large former village site, which still shows evidence of the house locations on its surface. All three projects were run cooperatively with the First Nations involved, and individuals from various Nuu-chah-nulth Nations participated in the fieldwork. I have an interest in collaborative projects with First Nations to record elements of their heritage.