Xwe'etay Archaeology

Like most of the islands in the Salish Sea, Xwe’etay/Lasqueti Island has diverse and abundant Indigneous heritage sites. These sites take the form of small and large settlements, short term camps, lookout sites, burials, cultivated, managed, and modified landscapes and ecosystems, and isolated belongings (artifacts). They can be in all parts of the island, from the intertidal to the uplands.   

Our limited excavations and surveys indicate that Indigenous heritage sites range in age from the 18th century to 1000s of years ago—  when sea levels receded enough to make the island inhabitable. Collectively, these sites reflect the deep history of multiple generations of Indigenous Peoples, living on, connecting to, forming, and being formed by the island’s land and sea.  

Unfortunately, the record of Indigenous heritage sites on Xwe’etay/Lasqueti Island are being lost at a rapid rate. In the last 40 years, some of the islands most major and important sites have been almost completely destroyed with no archaeological investigations before hand. Thus, we have lost 1000s of years of history and details about generations of lives lived on the island.    

While we focus on Xwe’etay/Lasqueti Island in our project, the archaeological record and the social-ecological context in which it is nested, parallels that in many places in other Gulf Islands, throughout British Columbia and Canada, and indeed, the world.